Chinese fusion reactor reaches the correct temperature

Cesar Mills
November 16, 2018

Researchers from China's Hefei Institutes of Physical Sciences said the "artificial sun" has become the hottest known nuclear fusion experiment on Earth, at 100 million degrees Celsius.

The achieved temperature is about seven times more than the interior of the Sun, which is about 15 million degrees Celsius. Scientists say nuclear fusion, if developed safely, can be a big source of clean energy.

"It's certainly a significant step for China's nuclear fusion program and an important development for the whole world", Dr Hole said, adding that developing fusion reactors could be the solution to global energy problems. The institute hopes that this could unlock the secrets of how scientists could make nuclear fusion a reality on this planet, according to the Shanghaiist report.

Every nuclear reactor now operating on Earth is a fission reactor - using energy released when heavy atoms such as uranium decay into smaller atoms, a process similar to the one used in the first nuclear weapons.

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The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) in Hefei, East China's Anhui province, has been dubbed as artificial sun since it replicates the energy-generating process of the sun. It is this plasma that led EAST to heat to such a high temperature.

To date, nuclear physicists and researchers from different parts of the world are pushing for the development of a nuclear fusion power plant that will produce environmentally friendly, sustainable energy.

Nuclear fusion needs very high temperature and great pressure, and since the latter can't be achieved on earth, people can only raise the temperature, which, according to current theory, must reach at least 100 million C.

The EAST that pulled off the 100 million Celsius feat stands at 11 metres tall, has a diameter of 8 metres and weighs about 360 tonnes. The project will also provide experimental evidence and scientific support for the country's ongoing China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor project, which is similarly working to develop nuclear fusion.

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