China’s “Artificial Sun” Fusion Reactor Just Set a World Record. The reactor got more than 10 times hotter than the core of the Sun.
In a word, this marks a big milestone for the EAST reactor, which has been dubbed the “artificial Sun” for its ability to replicate the natural nuclear fusion process of stars. Doing so could help unlock the mystery to creating sustainable, reliable fusion power.
China’s “Artificial Sun” Fusion Reactor set a milestone.
According to the state-run outlet Global Times recently published this report. China broke a record with its Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) fusion reactor on Friday when it sustained a plasma temperature of 120 million degrees Celsius for 101 seconds. The reactor was also able to sustain a temperature of 160 million degrees Celsius for 20 seconds.
For perspective, the core of our solar system’s Sun “only” reaches about 15 million degrees Celsius, according to Space.com. So, for a moment, EAST got more than 10 times hotter than that.
Situated at the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) in Hefei. The Tokamak device has been designed to reproduce the nuclear fusion process, natural to the Sun and stars. The experiment is being carried out to provide infinite clean energy through controlled nuclear fusion.
The previous record maintained a 180 million F (100 million C) plasma temperature for 100 seconds. By and large, China’s new project broke that record recently, a big step towards getting nuclear fusion to work.
Li Miao, director of the Southern University of Science and Technology physics department in Shenzhen. He said the latest experiment by Chinese scientists is a key milestone towards keeping the temperature at a stable level for a long time.
“The breakthrough is significant progress, and the ultimate goal should be keeping the temperature at a stable level for a long time,” Li told the Global Times.
According to a report in New Atlas, scientists are currently working on a wide variety of devices to trigger these reactions. Still, experts said that doughnut-shaped tokamaks, like the EAST, appear to be most promising. The device features a series of magnetic coils designed to hold super-heated streams of hydrogen plasma in place for long enough for the reactions to occur.
The bottom line
The Chinese “artificial sun” experiment is part of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) facility. Above all, a global science project will be the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor when it becomes operational in 2035. As many as 35 countries, including China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the US, jointly work on the project.
To harness nuclear fusion, achieving a plasma temperature above 100 million C is a key challenge. In 2020, Korea’s KSTAR reactor had set a record by maintaining a plasma at over 100 million C for 20 seconds. It is believed that the temperature at the Sun’s core is 15 million C by the various research in this field. This also means that the temperature produced by (EAST) is nearly seven times that of the Sun.