Researchers Have Created an Artificial Sun, And It’s Way Hotter

Researchers Have Created an Artificial Sun, And It’s Way Hotter

It's a new record for fusion power - and could be the key to generating limitless clean energy. This differs from nuclear power plants now in operation, which produce energy - as well as radioactive byproducts - by splitting uranium atoms in a process known as fission.

While that comparison in itself is mind-blowing, the temperature also has another important significance for nuclear energy researchers: 100 million degrees Celsius is thought to be the minimum temperature needed for self-sustaining nuclear fusion on Earth.

China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak, or "artificial Sun" as it is better known.

Unlike nuclear fission, where the energy comes from the decay of large atoms into smaller elements, fusion releases very little waste: mostly helium. Numerous world's other energy sources, such as coal, produce carbon when processed, which contributes to climate change. Located on Science Island in Eastern China's Anhui Province, the project is using nuclear fusion to create vast heat; it costs a massive $15,000 a day just to turn on the machine. Scientists say nuclear fusion, if developed safely, can be a big source of clean energy. The country is the first in the world to design and develop such an equipment on its own.

Designed, constructed, and assembled mainly by Chinese scientists, the EAST project was approved by China's National Development and Reform Commission in 1998 to conduct fundamental physics and engineering research on advanced tokamak fusion reactors.

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Well with ground breaking records, EAST and WEST are likely to help mankind to light up a Sun at night too.

The isotopes are heated by powerful electric currents within the tokamak, tearing electrons away from their atoms and forming a charged plasma of hydrogen ions.

To put that into perspective, the center of the sun is around 15 million degrees Celsius.

Keeping plasma at a high temperature without melting its container is still a challenge, but breakthroughs in tokamak technology have accelerated in recent years.

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