Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Sci-tech | By Carrie Guzman

China's fusion test burns six times hotter than the sun

China's fusion test burns six times hotter than the sun

One of the few hurdles to unleashing nuclear fusion as an energy source is sustaining the fusion reaction for longer than a handful of minutes.

The four-month experiment shows that China is making significant progress towards tokamak-based fusion energy production, the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said.

In an earlier experiment from 2016, EAST maintained a plasma temperature of almost 50 million degrees Celsius for 102 seconds before the fusion chamber melted.

In fusion reaction, two nuclei were combined unlike in the fission reaction used in current nuclear reactors that basically splits an atom. 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.

One way of achieving this on Earth is by using what's known as a tokamak, a device created to replicate the nuclear fusion process that occurs naturally in the Sun and stars to generate energy.

Power injection in the experiment exceeded 10MW, and the plasma stored energy was boosted to 300 kJ after the team optimized the coupling of the different heating techniques along with using an advanced plasma control system and theory/simulation prediction.

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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. It is this plasma that led EAST to heat to such a high temperature. "Besides, nuclear fusion does not produce any radioactive waste, so it is extremely environmentally friendly", said the researchers in a recently issued statement.

Scientists this week announced that the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor had reached 100 million Celsius.

Well with ground breaking records, EAST and WEST are likely to help mankind to light up a Sun at night too.

When the ions fuse they give off a large amount of energy, which can then be harnessed to run a power plant and produce electricity.

The experiment team said EAST achieved a fully non-inductive steady-state scenario with the extension of fusion performance at high density, high temperature and high confinement, which has provided important experimental evidence and scientific support to the ongoing Chinese Fusion Engineering Test Reactor.

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