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The China Spallation Neutron Source (CSNS) project is making steady development following the installation of an essential piece of the device. 

Still under construction, China's scientific device has been fitted with a negative hydrogen iron source, an accelerator that will provide a stable particle beam for subatomic research.

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The installation of the new component signals an important headway into the project, said the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Since the negative hydrogen ion source is an essential piece, it will determine whether the CSNS performs as designed.

The CSNS is composed of a proton rapid cycling synchrotron and an H-linac. The device will accelerate pulses of a proton beam to hit a metal target, which will generate the spallation neutrons.

China's spallation device, which is supported with a $358 million budget, is based in Dongguan city's Dalang County.

Once completed and operational, the CSNS will be the fourth spallation neutron source in the world, with the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan operating the other three.

The CSNS is scheduled to operate in 2018, which by then will be China's biggest scientific equipment.