“Artificial Sun” Now Hot Enough for Nuclear Fusion

A temperature of over 100 million degrees, the real Sun’s core isn’t even close to this hot. Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor, nicknamed Chinese artificial sun, has achieved over 100 million degrees Celsius (180 million degrees Fahrenheit) electron temperature milestone in the core plasma in its 2018 four-month-long experiment campaign.

For comparison, the core of our real Sun only reaches about 27 million degrees Fahrenheit — meaning the EAST reactor was, briefly, more than six times hotter than the closest star.

China’s self-designed “artificial sun,” a device to harness the energy of fusion, has now made an important advance by achieving a temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius in plasma and a heating power of 10 megawatts, noting the progress could pave the way for developing clean energy through nuclear fusion.

The Institute of Plasma Physics, affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced on its website on Monday that various data points achieved in the experiments are close to meeting physics’ demand for future steady-state fusion reactor operation.

Independently designed and developed by China, the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) is the world’s first fully superconducting tokamak with non-circular cross-section and the country’s fourth generation experimental nuclear fusion device.

The device is dubbed as the “artificial sun” as it aims to realize nuclear fusion like that of the sun by using deuterium and tritium, which widely exist in sea water, and thus could continuously provide clean energy for humanity.

Now that China’s “artificial sun” is capable of heating plasma to the necessary temperature, researchers can focus on the next steps along the path to stable nuclear fusion.

Sources: Hefei Institutes of Physical Science Chinese Academy of Sciences, Futurism

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