Published: Thu, November 15, 2018
Science | By

China makes artificial sun BREAKTHROUGH in step towards limitless energy

China makes artificial sun BREAKTHROUGH in step towards limitless energy

It's a new record for fusion power - and could be the key to generating limitless clean energy.

Scientists with the Chinese Academy of Sciences have announced their "artificial sun"-a fusion reactor experiment-has achieved a temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius". Atomic nuclei begin to fuse together releasing huge amounts of energy but without the massive amount of deadly radiation which our existing nuclear fission reactors create. This reaction produces plasma, which is a state of matter. The fusion reactors would create more power while producing less risky waste.

But to do so, companies need to find a way to harvest energy from a plasma held at millions of degrees Celsius - something that has defied researchers for decades. But like on the Sun, the plasma is prone to produce bursts.

Scientists contained the plasma in a round, 400-ton machine known as the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak, or EAST.

Designed, constructed, and assembled mainly by Chinese scientists, the EAST project was approved by China's National Development and Reform Commission in 1998 to conduct fundamental physics and engineering research on advanced tokamak fusion reactors. The EAST device has been conducting a four-month-long experiment with the goal of seeing how hot the electron temperature inside the fusion device could be.

The temperature at the core of the sun is said to be about 15 million degrees Celsius, making the plasma in China's "artificial sun" more than six times hotter than the original. Researchers noted that the progress could pave the way for developing clean energy through nuclear fusion, as per China Central Television. These challenges include building a reactor that can confine and suspend the plasma, and then scaling this expensive equipment up to the point where it would become commercially viable.

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