China turns on its nuclear powered 'artificial Sun'

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Dec 04, 2020, 06.44 PM(IST)

Representative image Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The 'artificial Sun' uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma that can attain temperature of 150 million degrees Celsius, said People's Daily. This is ten times hotter than the core of actual Sun

China successfully powered up the HL-2M Tokamak reactor, also known as 'artificial Sun' on Friday, reported state media. The reactor is China's largest and most advances nuclear fusion experimental research device. Scientists are hoping that the device can potentially unlock a powerful clean energy source.

The 'artificial Sun' uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma that can attain temperature of 150 million degrees Celsius, said People's Daily. This is ten times hotter than the core of the Sun.

Located in southwestern Sichuan province and completed late last year, the reactor is often called an "artificial sun" on account of the enormous heat and power it produces.

"The development of nuclear fusion energy is not only a way to solve China's strategic energy needs, but also has great significance for the future sustainable development of China's energy and national economy," said the People's Daily. 

China's 'artificial Sun'

Chinese scientists have been working on developing smaller versions of the nuclear fusion reactor since 2006.

They plan to use the device in collaboration with scientists working on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor -- the world's largest nuclear fusion research project based in France, which is expected to be completed in 2025. 

Fusion is considered the Holy Grail of energy and is what powers our sun.

It merges atomic nuclei to create massive amounts of energy -- the opposite of the fission process used in atomic weapons and nuclear power plants, which splits them into fragments.

Unlike fission, fusion emits no greenhouse gases and carries less risk of accidents or the theft of atomic material.

But achieving fusion is both extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive, with the total cost of ITER estimated at $22.5 billion.

(With AFP inputs)

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