That was in 2012, alot of things have changed since then. I agree that any work on MSR related research is important, but until the fate of Jiang Mianheng is decided and we know who his replacement is, there really is no point in trying to predict the course of the TMSR project.
About two weeks ago, it appears that the process of purging him has begun, the pattern appears to be the same for all the other members of the Jiang ZM faction that incumbent Chinese president Xi has been using to purge them.
Okay, I was not aware of this Chinese-Australian partnership until now. But are you saying that the fate of a research institute, SINAP, and the TMSR research project will rest on what will happen to a single person, Jiang Mianheng ? I was always under the impression that this was supported by the Chinese government and not dependent on a single person. Obviously, I am not very familiar with the inner workings of the Chinese Communist Party.
All projects to some extent have their fates tied to the fate of their leadership, but this tends to be more so in Asian culture, and even more so in a closed system like China.
The Chinese government as far as I know supports research into 'energy options', any and ALL 'options', but the fortunes of specific projects like the TMSR (or any other nuclear program) rely very much on having the support of a big name to promote and support it, they call these personages "Kaoshan" which quite literally means "a mountain to lean on".
It's perfectly understandable that many of us in western societies tend to have a hard time interpreting organisational moves in China, this is because of the cultural norms in the east are starkly different, and unless you were familiar with the nuances it's actually quite hard to read. For example, on the surface even if two institutions or projects in China hate each other's guts, they will always say polite (even nice) things about each other in public while stabbing each other in the back in private. This is the Asian way, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc etc all do this with slight permutations in the procedure.
Also is the matter of saving face. The Chinese will always want to present anything they do to outsiders (especially to westerners) as all good and hunky dory, and will say things like "the Chinese gov't is committed to..." or "good progress is made..." or "we continue to support...", even if they don't really mean it. Only when you dig deeper into the background will you see these things.
Jiang MH (prior to the reversal of fortunes of the Jiang ZM faction) was a huge name to lean on, that's why while the JZM faction was still riding high in power the TMSR project looked like a sure bet.
Now to be sure, I think the Chinese government is fully aware of the potential of the TMSR to solve one of the biggest problems they are facing and will not be likely to can the project over the fall of JMH, but progress will definitely be affected and while the TMSR program lacks a "Kaoshan", it's ability to vie for gov't attention and funding priority over competing projects will suffer. That's why we need to see who they appoint to JMH's position after he is taken down to determine how serious they are about it (or how long it will take to come to fruition).
Some possible scenarios:
1) A close and powerful ally of President Xi or a rising star is appointed and makes moves that indicate intent to pursue TMSR with all haste = TMSR is a priority and will likely accelerate.
2) " but makes little to no supporting actions on TMSR (it's not likely anything negative will be said) = TMSR is doomed to the backburner.
3) A nobody or person of much less importance relative to JMH is appointed = likely same outcome as scenario 2
there is a fourth possible (but somewhat less likely) scenario tied into scenario 2, that they try to hide their interest in TMSR and send conflicting messages, right up till the point they sputnik the west. There are of course fifty shades of grey (actually maybe a thousand shades...) on the above scenarios, but if you are seasoned in China watching, it shouldn't be hard to figure out.