Artificial city

China conducts nuclear fusion experiment for ‘artificial sun’, World News

China has carried out a nuclear fusion experiment with a view to advancing its “artificial sun”.

The Hefei Institute of Physical Sciences launched the advanced experimental superconducting tokamak (EAST) heating system this month, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The experiment aims to make the artificial sun or the auxiliary heating system ‘warmer’ and more ‘sustainable’.

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China has already spent around 6 billion yuan ($ 893 million) on a large donut-shaped facility known as the tokamak, which uses extremely high temperatures to boil isotopes of hydrogen in a plasma, the merge and release energy.

If this energy can be used, it will only require tiny amounts of fuel and create virtually no radioactive waste.

“In five years, we will start building our fusion reactor, which will take another 10 years to build. After that, we will build the electricity generator and start generating electricity by around 2040, ”said Song Yuntao, deputy director of the Institute of Plasma Physics at the Hefei Institute of Physical Sciences.

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The nuclear fusion process is reproduced in the EAST heating system which became operational in 2006.

It broke a record in June of this year when it reached a temperature ten times higher than the sun. It had reached a peak temperature of 160 million degrees Celsius.

China is preparing to restart its stalled nationwide nuclear reactor program after a three-year moratorium on new approvals, but at a state laboratory in Hefei city, China’s Anhui province, scientists are looking beyond the simple splitting of atoms in order to pursue nuclear fusion, where energy is generated by combining nuclei, a business referred to by skeptics as “putting the sun in a box.”

China has been researching fusion since 1958, but at this stage it’s still more about international cooperation than competition, Song said. The country is a member of the 35-country ITER project, a 10 billion euros ($ 11.29 billion) merger project under construction in France.

China is responsible for manufacturing 9% of ITER’s components and plays a major role in core technologies such as magnetic containment, as well as producing components that can withstand temperatures above 100 million degrees Celsius. (180 million degrees Fahrenheit).

ITER is expected to produce the first plasma by 2025. A demonstration reactor will then be built, with the aim of creating 500 megawatts of power from just 50 megawatts of input, ie an energy return ten times greater.

(With contributions from agencies)