17 minutes 120 million degrees Celsius – China’s “artificial sun” sets a new record for nuclear fusion
The eastern reactor, which was hotter than the sun, was able to heat the plasma to 120 million degrees Celsius for 17 minutes. This is a new record and a decisive step because of the time that was achieved.
Nuclear fusion is an eternal beacon of hope. Theoretical foundations were laid in the early 1950s. But in practice, one struggled and achieved little. Because technically it was very difficult to create conditions like those on the Sun in a reactor on Earth. But research reactors have set new records in recent years. China’s “artificial sun” is only creating a new one, and according to a report by Xinhua, the system has been operating for a full 1,056 seconds at a high plasma temperature.
In terms of type, Sharq is a donut-shaped tokamak reactor. The principle of tokamak reactors was designed by Soviet scientists. Inside Donost, plasma circles.
It simulates an environment similar to the Sun in order to achieve continuous fusion. Only the plasma temperature in the reactors would have to be much higher than that of the sun, since one cannot create a similar pressure on Earth; Heat should compensate for this deficiency. But what seemed an elegant solution in theory turned out to be very complicated in practice. Only since the use of superconducting magnets have there been remarkable developments.
In December 2020, the current enhanced version of EAST was launched. The reactor has now been designed in such a way that its heating capacity can be increased step by step. Another specialty is its superconducting coils. In May 2021, he already set another record when he worked for 101 seconds at a temperature of 120 million degrees Celsius. Now 1056 seconds. In the following steps one will try to extend the duration of the high temperature process and increase the temperature to 200 million degrees,
At least another 30 years
EAST is one of many nuclear fusion experiments around the world designed to mimic the interaction of the Sun and stars with the help of tokamak reactors. Nuclear fusion occurs when two atoms fuse together to form a heavier nucleus, releasing massive amounts of energy. Despite current developments, nuclear fusion in tokamak reactors will not be able to solve current energy problems. It will take about 30 years before the “artificial sun” can go online during normal operation, said Lin Boqiang, director of the China Energy Economics Research Center at Xiamen University. “The 30-year specification is also very sporty, as commercial reactors have yet to be designed and built.
Other reactors include SPARC powered by MIT’s Bill Gates and South Korea’s KSTAR, which recently set a record by keeping ultra-heated plasma at 1 million degrees for 30 seconds. Commonwealth Fusion Systems, which conducted the SPARC experiment, with the support of Bill Gates, was able to test a magnet in September that operates at a magnetic force of 20 Tesla and consumes only about 30 watts of power. This search for economic magnets is likely to be just as important as the high temperatures of this type of fusion reactor. Because so far they have consumed more electricity than they generate.
In addition to large-scale tokamak systems, including the European ITER, there are many start-ups around the world that want to build fusion reactors. You are following a different path. Their role model is not the sun, but the hydrogen bomb. There must be no continuous fusion of atomic nuclei. The bombardment with particles is supposed to lead to a series of small explosions; You don’t have to build a complex and expensive donut, whose magnets are supposed to tame plasma. If such a development is successful and the jump from a laboratory setup to a test reactor is successful, a commercial reactor could be commissioned as early as the 1930s.
Note: This is a patched version. There were conversion errors in the original article.