China’s “artificial sun” experimental fusion reactor set a new world record

China's "artificial sun" experimental fusion reactor
China’s “artificial sun” experimental fusion reactor

China’s experimental advanced superconducting tokamak (EAST) set a new record in the latest experiment. At this temperature, its plasma temperature reached 216 million degrees Fahrenheit (120 million degrees Celsius) for 101 seconds. Not only that, according to official media reports, scientists working under the “artificial sun” reached 288 million degrees Fahrenheit (160 million degrees Celsius) within 20 seconds. 

The tokamak device is located at the Institute of Plasma Physics (ASIPP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Hefei, and is designed to reproduce the nuclear fusion process inherent in the sun and stars. Experiments are underway to provide unlimited clean energy through controlled nuclear fusion. 

The previous record that kept the plasma temperature at 180 million degrees Fahrenheit (100 million degrees Celsius) for 100 seconds has now been broken, which is a big step towards nuclear fusion. The Shenzhen Science and Technology Bureau stated that the latest experiment by Chinese scientists is a key milestone towards the goal of keeping the temperature at a stable level for a long time. 

Li Keqiang told the Global Times: “The breakthrough is a major progress, and its ultimate goal should be to keep the temperature at a stable level for a long time.” According to the “New Atlas” report, scientists are currently studying various equipment. Provoked these reactions, but experts said that doughnut-shaped tokamaks like EAST seem to be the most promising. The device has a series of electromagnetic coils designed to keep the superheated hydrogen plasma stream long enough for the reaction to occur. 

China’s “artificial sun” experiment is part of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) facility, a global scientific project that will become the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor when it is put into use in 2035. As many as 35 countries, including China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States, are cooperating on the project. 

In order to take advantage of nuclear fusion, reaching plasma temperatures above 100 million degrees Celsius is one of the key challenges. In 2020, South Korea’s KSTAR reactor set a record by keeping the plasma at a temperature above 100 million degrees Celsius for 20 seconds. 

It is believed that the temperature of the core of the sun is 15 million degrees Celsius, which also means that the temperature generated by (EAST) is almost seven times that of the sun.

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