China Makes Breakthrough With “Artificial Sun” That Went On For An Entire Minute
China has been able to successfully obtain high-confinement nuclear reactor plasma for a whole minute, which experts believe will promote the development of international thermonuclear fusion research. The reactor was able to maintain a temperature of 50 million Kelvins, that’s three times as hot as Sun’s core.
For those unfamiliar, Chinese scientists in February this year had made a nuclear reactor plasma that reached a temperature of 50 million Kelvins (or, 49.999 million degrees Celsius) – or thrice as hot as the sun’s 15 million Kelvins core.
The entire experiment was conducted using the nuclear reactor known as the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) – an experimental thermonuclear fusion reactor that replicates the energy-generating process of the sun – which is stationed at the Institute of Plasma Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Jiangsu province.
According to the statement issued on the institute’s website on Wednesday, the temperature was “roughly the same as the mid-sized thermonuclear explosion”.
The aim of this experiment was to create a copy of the nuclear fusion happening deep within the core of the sun. The EAST reactor created a hot ionised gas known as plasma (where atoms fused together to create massive amounts of energy). The process is not the same as the nuclear fission wherein atoms are divided instead of being merged together.
This achievement will be important to the success of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), the largest international program dedicated to thermonuclear fusion experiments. Also, this experiment puts China right at the front for replacing fossil fuels and traditional nuclear fission reactors with practical fusion power.
The author Kavita Iyer
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