China lights ‘artificial sun’ at 120 million degrees Celsius in search of nuclear fusion – Media – RT Business News
Chinese media reported that researchers working on a nuclear fusion project managed to hold plasma at 120 million degrees Celsius for nearly two minutes.
The Chinese daily Global Times reports that the so-called artificial sun, as the Chinese nuclear fusion project is known, also managed to keep the plasma at 160 million degrees Celsius for 20 seconds.
These times, although not very long in absolute terms, are records in the quest for nuclear fusion. The next step would be to maintain these temperatures for as long as a week, according to a physics professor at the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen.
China’s nuclear fusion reactor first made headlines in 2019 when Beijing announced it would begin operations soon. The reactor – the HL-2M Tokamak – was first powered up late last year and its first achievement was to maintain a temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius for 100 minutes.
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Nuclear fusion has become a kind of modern day philosopher’s stone. The process holds great promise for power generation, but getting it to work has proven to be a challenge because, while the fusion process itself is possible, it consumes more energy than it releases, which is the opposite of the goal.
Russia also recently reported news about nuclear fusion. Earlier this month, state media reported that the T-15MD tokamak was powered for the first time.
China and Russia are also members of the international team building the ITER nuclear fusion project in Europe. Construction of the ITER tokamak started last year in the south of France.
The payoff, if nuclear fusion is achieved, would be enormous. Among the advantages of the technology is ultra-powerful energy that is inexpensive to produce, emission-free and virtually unlimited. Nuclear fusion also leaves no radioactive waste, which makes it as close as possible to the perfect energy source.
This article originally appeared on Oil Octobers