According to state media, China’s “artificial sun” set a new world record after superheating a loop of plasma to temperatures five times hotter than the sun for more than 17 minutes. The artificial Sun of China brings scientists one step closer to near-limitless clean energy.
The EAST (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak) recently maintained a temperature of 158 million degrees Fahrenheit in their nuclear fusion reactor for 1,056 seconds, according to Xinhua net. This is a record-breaking figure that has surpassed the temperature of the Sun’s core, which is 27 million degrees Fahrenheit.
The power of nuclear energy is not only of interest to Chinese researchers. Over the last 70 years, scientists have been studying the formation and burning of stars.
Many people find this research compelling because the enormous energy generated by nuclear processing produces no greenhouse gases or long-term radioactive waste.
Unfortunately for researchers, dealing with nuclear energy is a difficult task.
Natan Yavlinsky, a Soviet scientist, invented the first fusion reactor, known as a tokamak, which is now widely used in modern technology.
In 2003, France’s Tore Supra tokamak achieved one of the best nuclear fusion reactions, with plasma temperatures reaching near 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 390 seconds.
EAST set a new record by sustaining their nuclear fusion reaction for a longer period of time. According to Live Science, researcher Gong Xianzu boasted about the achievement, saying that “the recent operation lays a solid scientific and experimental foundation towards the running of a fusion reactor.”
It should be noted that EAST and its accomplishment is only one of many projects to look forward to. According to Live Science, researchers are also planning a larger fusion project known as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER).
ITER is currently under construction in Marseille, France. It will be the world’s largest nuclear reactor. This incredible piece of technology is the result of a 35-country collaboration, including the European Union, the United Kingdom, China, India, and the United States, to name a few.
ITER is equipped with one of the world’s most powerful magnets, allowing it to generate a magnetic field 280,000 times stronger than the one found on Earth. The fusion reactor is scheduled to be fully operational by 2025. If everything goes well, researchers may be able to harness the power of a star even on Earth!
It is worth noting that China intends to conduct its own nuclear fusion research independent of the joint programme. It is currently conducting internal confinement fusions and plans to build a new tokamak by 2030.