Science/Tech

China’s ‘Artificial Sun’ Update: Energy-Producing, Sun-Like Structure Construction Wrapping Up This Year

China is close to completing its “artificial sun,” with its construction expected to wrap up within this year. Scientists working on the country’s Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor said the technology will mimic the nuclear fusion process the real Sun uses to produce energy.

Duan Xuru, an official at the China National Nuclear Corporation, said at the recent annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference that developers could complete construction on the nation's HL-2M Tokamak reactor before the end of this year, Futurism reported last Thursday

The EAST reactor made its first milestone in November, when the device achieved an electron temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius. More than three months after the test, Chinese officials said the latest progress with the device is its increased capacity that could allow it to reach an ion temperature. Such record would put humans for the first time a step closer to harnessing the power of nuclear fusion.

"The artificial sun's plasma is mainly composed of electrons and ions," Xuru said at the event. "The country's existing Tokamak devices have achieved an electron temperature of over 100 million degrees C in its core plasma, and an ion temperature of 50 million C and it is the ion that generates energy in the device."

The official expressed confidence that the artificial sun could reach an ion temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius, a figure nearly seven times hotter than the real Sun's ion temperature. 

However, other experts said achieving such figure is one of the main challenges scientists face to date in their attempts to harness the power of nuclear fusion.

If the Chinese team successfully builds such a device, it would serve as a template for future nuclear fusion reactors. These technologies would bring unlimited clean energy to mankind.

Construction of the HL-2M Tokamak is ongoing at the Southwestern Institute of Physics in China. The facility provides space to researchers to conduct experiments, technical development, talent training and operations focused on controlled nuclear fusion. 

SWIP is the oldest and largest research and development base for nuclear fusion in China, according to the China National Nuclear Corp.

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