What Is China’s “Artificial Sun”?
China successfully completed the first test of nuclear fusion reactor known as the “Artificial Sun”, because it copies the process of generating solar energy. Nuclear fusion is a promising technology. It can produce a large amount of clean energy with very few wastes.
China’s Artificial sun is called the HL-2M, a tokamak fusion reactor located at the Southwestern Institute of Physics (SWIP) in Chengdu, China. The reactors generate energy by applying a strong magnetic field to compress hydrogen until it produces plasma that can reach temperatures as high as 150 million degrees Celcius, which is five times hotter than the nucleus of the Sun.
The Xinhua agency stated that Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) nuclear fission reactor maintained a temperature of 158 million degrees Fahrenheit (70 million degrees Celsius) for 1056 seconds. This success brings scientists closer to a small but significant step towards creating an infinite source of clean energy.
State media reported China’s “Artificial Sun” set a new world record after superheating a plasma cycle five times hotter than the sun of more than 17 minutes.
The main objective of this experiment is to make the artificial sun or auxiliary heating system “warmer” and more “durable”.
Nuclear Fusion Experiment For “Artificial Sun”
China conducted this nuclear fusion experiment in the direction of the progress of its Artificial Sun. China has already spent 6 billion yuan ($893 million) on a large doughnut-shaped installation called Tokmak. It uses extremely high temperatures to boil hydrogen isotopes into a plasma to store and release energy.
What Is China’s “Artificial Sun” EAST
The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor is an advanced nuclear fusion experimental research tool which is located at the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) in Hefei, China. The purpose of the Artificial Sun is to mimic the process of nuclear fusion, a similar reaction that powers the sun.
EAST is currently one of the three major regional tokamaks operating across the country. In addition to the EAST, China currently operates the HL-2A reactor and the J-TEXT. In December 2020, the HL-2M tokamak China’s largest and most advanced nuclear fusion test equipment was successfully launched for the first time.
Since its first operation in 2006, EAST has set numerous records during the hottest plasma burning period. The EAST project is part of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITR), which is set to become the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor by 2035. The project includes contributions from a number of countries, including India, South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States.
How Does The Artificial Sun EAST Work
The EAST tokamak instrument is designed to replicate the process of nuclear fusion driven by the sun and stars. Previously Energy was produced by Nuclear Fission, a process opposite to Nuclear Fusion.
Nuclear Fusion Vs Nuclear Fission
Nuclear Fusion- Nuclear Fusion is a technology that generates a large amount of energy without generating large quantities of wastes, the scientists have been trying to perfect for decades.
Nuclear Fission- Nuclear Fission is a process in which energy is produced by splitting the nucleus of a heavy atom into two or more nuclei of lighter atoms.
While Fission is a simple process, it produces a large number of nuclear wastes. Unlike Fission, Fusion does not emit greenhouse gases and is considered a safe process with little risk. Nuclear fusion can deliver unlimited clean energy and very low cost.
For more than 70 years, scientists have been trying to harness the power of nuclear fusion- the process by which stars burn. By combining hydrogen atoms to form helium at high temperature and pressure, so-called mainstream starts can convert matter into light and heat-generating large amounts of energy without producing greenhouse gases or long-term radioactive waste.
The fuel is heated to a temperature above 150 million degrees Celsius, making it hot plasma” soup” of subatomic particles. With the help of a strong magnetic field, the plasma is pushed away from the walls of the reactor, which does not cool down and loses its ability to generate a large amount of energy. Plasma is limited for a long time to synthesize.
The experimental fusion reactor, HL-2M, received its first plasma on December 4, 2020. This is a significant achievement in the global effort to develop a safe and clean form of nuclear energy. It is hoped that this will greatly strengthen the research and development of major technologies in plasma physics in China.
The HL-2m project has been approved by the Chinese Atomic Energy Authority and the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).
HL-2M In ITER
China is part of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project. The HL-2M project which builds its own Tokamak reactor will provide key technical support for the project in areas such as flux instability and ultra-high-temperature plasma magnetic phenomena.
ITER aims to determine the technical and economic feasibility of nuclear fusion through a magnetic field as a large energy source without CO2 emission, through does not yet generate electricity. It will be the first fusion site to generate pure energy, sustain the fusion process and test the necessary materials and technologies. This is the first phase of construction of the commercial exhibition space, which is expected to be operational by 2025.
Frequently Asked Question
Que- What is the purpose of China’s Artificial Sun?
Ans- Experimental fusion reactor can be used to unlock unlimited amounts of pure energy. The artificial Sun of China has set a new world record by superheating a plasma loop five times the sun’s temperature for more than 17 minutes.
Que- Does the sun run or nuclear fusion?
Ans- The sun is the main sequences star therefore it produces energy through the fusion of hydrogen nuclei in helium. At its core, the sun mixes 500 million metric tons of hydrogen every second.
Que- Why is Nuclear Fusion is important?
Ans- The combined combustion of atoms releases four million times more energy than the chemical reactions of coal, oil and gas and four times the energy of atomic fission reaction. Its major by-product is helium: an inert, non-toxic gas.
Que- How many artificial suns are there?
Ans- There are about 250 tokamak devices around the world according to the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN).
Que- How efficient is nuclear fusion?
Ans- One kilogram of fusion fuel can produce as much energy as 10 million kilograms of fossil fuels. A 1 GW Fusion Power Station will require less than one ton of fuel during one year of operation.
China successfully tested its “Artificial Sun” that could produce energy in the next few years, if made more sustainable. Fusion is a very expensive process, but Chinese experiments can help researchers find ways to reduce costs.
Disclaimer: All the content of this article is just for information purposes only.