China lights an ‘artificial sun’ that’s five times hotter than the real one


A nuclear fusion reactor in China has set a new sustained high temperature record after operating five times hotter than the sun for more than 17 minutes, according to state media.

The Advanced Experimental Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), known as the “artificial sun”, reached temperatures of 70,000,000 ° C during the experiments, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The ultimate goal of the development of the artificial solar device is to provide almost unlimited clean energy by mimicking the natural reactions that occur in stars.

“The recent operation lays a solid scientific and experimental basis for the operation of a fusion reactor,” said Gong Xianzu, a researcher at the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who led the latest experiment. .

The EAST project, which has already cost China more than £ 700 billion, will continue the experiment until June.

Nuclear fusion has been touted as the holy grail of clean energy production, but it is still far from being achieved outside of a laboratory, despite decades of research into the technology.

Mimicking the physics of the current sun, nuclear fusion reactors fuse atomic nuclei to generate massive amounts of energy that can be turned into electricity.

The process requires no fossil fuels and leaves no hazardous waste behind, unlike the nuclear fission process that powers commercial nuclear power production. Physicists also claim that there is much less risk of environmental catastrophe.

Tokamak HL-2M is one of three “artificial suns” under development in China

(VCG via Getty)

The Chinese Reactor Team will also provide technical support to another nuclear fusion reactor megaproject under construction in Marseille, France.

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) will be the largest reactor in the world when completed.

The UK is also planning to build a fusion nuclear power plant as part of its ‘green industrial revolution’, with a shortlist of five locations for the site announced last month.

The Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) project aims to produce a concept by 2024 and provide electricity to people’s homes at some point in the 2040s.


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