China builds an "artificial sun" that can reach temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius
Last month, we reported that a team of scientists from Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics Research System Institute of China (CASC) developed an "artificial moon" 8 times brighter than the natural moon to replace street lights in the country 2020.
Now a team at the Hefei Institute of Physical Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has announced that the Tokamak Experimental Superconductor (EAST) reaffirmed a new temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius.
The EAST was called "artificial sun" as it replicates the process used by the sun to produce energy. Burns at 100 million degrees Celsius, which is more than six times hotter than the core of the sun. The core temperature of the sun is about 15 million degrees Celsius. The state-of-the-art reactor is designed to turn hydrogen into green, cost-effective energy.
"Scientists have conducted plasma balance and instability, limiting and transport experiments, plasma-wall interaction and particle physics to demonstrate long-term H-mode operation with good control of impurity, basic MHD stability / edge, escape using an ITER tungsten diverter, "wrote in the article in his announcement.
Our sun generates light and heat through a process called nuclear fusion when two hydrogen nuclei combine to produce a huge amount of energy. Scientists believe the nuclear fusion takes place at 100 million degrees Celsius. However, since these two hydrogen nuclei typically resist, enormous temperatures are needed to overcome their opposing forces.
Therefore, reaching over 100 million degrees Celsius is an important step, as this is the minimum temperature required to create the right conditions for nuclear fusion on Earth.
The EAST goal is to understand the nuclear fusion process before building a complete reactor and using it as an alternative source of energy on Earth in the future. The process promises more power and is safer than fission, producing almost no hazardous nuclear waste.
"Nuclear fusion is undoubtedly the best way for human beings to get energy." As far as raw materials are concerned, deuterium and tritium required for nuclear fusion are almost inexhaustible in the ocean, and nuclear fusion does not produce any kind of waste radioactive, so it's extremely ecological, "the researchers said in a recently released statement.
Matthew Hole, associate professor at the Australian National University, told ABC News that realization was an important step in nuclear fusion science and could be the solution to global energy issues.
"It is certainly a significant step for China's nuclear fusion program and a major development for the whole world," said Dr. Hole.
"The benefit is simple because it is highly loaded on a large scale [continuous] energy production with zero greenhouse gas emissions and no long-lived radioactive waste.
The research group in charge of EAST says it has achieved this benchmark by using different new methods in heating and controlling plasma; however, they managed to keep the recorded temperature for only 10 seconds.
Dr. Hole also adds that nuclear fusion reactors avoid the risks of current nuclear fission reactors, which can be modified into dangerous weapons and are susceptible to possible meltdowns with catastrophic results.
The artificial sun was designed and built by China in 2006. EAST is 11 meters tall, has a diameter of 8 meters and weighs 400 tons. According to China Daily, China is the first country to design and develop such equipment on its own.