Sunday , February 28 2021

China is experiencing a fusion of milestones

Chinese nuclear scientists have made significant progress in the global quest for the use of nuclear fusion energy that naturally occurs on the sun.

A team of scientists at the Chinese Plasma Physics Institute this week announced that plasma in its experimental advanced superconducting Tokamak (EAST), known as the "artificial sun", reached 100 million degrees Celsius in dusty temperatures necessary to sustain a fusion reaction that produces more power, What's needed to run.

Speaking about the prospect, the temperature in the solar kernel is around 15 million degrees Celsius, making the plasma "artificial sun" in China "more than six times colder than the original.

The news comes after China shook the scientific community last month with a plan to launch the "artificial moon" bright enough to replace the city's streets by 2020.

Speaking with ABC, Associate Professor Matthew Hole of the Australian National University said that the achievement was an important step in the field of fusion science.

"This is, of course, an important step for the Chinese fusion program and a significant development for the whole world," Dr Hole said, adding that the development of fusion reactors could be a solution to global energy challenges.

The benefit is simple because it is a very large base load [continuous] zero greenhouse gas emissions and long-term radioactive waste.

"It provides a silver bullet energy solution … ensuring that it can be used."

He added that fusion reactors also avoided the risks associated with currently used nuclear fission reactors that can be adapted to dangerous weapons and potentially catastrophic collapse.

The news spread to the Chinese social media virus, and most users are excited about the achievements.

"No Chinese can do that," said one Weibo user.

Another said that "if this technology is used, the world is no longer worried about the energy crisis."

So, how did China succeed in expanding it?

Although current nuclear power plants are based on nuclear fission – a chain reaction in which uranium atoms are split to release energy, fusion works effectively opposite, forcing atoms to merge.

One way to achieve this on Earth is that which is used as a tokamak, a device designed to repeat the process of fusion that naturally occurs in the Sun and stars to generate energy.

EAST, which pulled out Celsius 100 million, is 11 meters long, 8 meters in diameter and weighs 360 tons.

Heavy-duty magnets connect "angel shapes". Photo: Institute of Plasma Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

It uses a ring to put heavy and particularly heavy isotopes – atomic fluctuations – into hydrogen, known as deuterium and tritium.

Isotopes are heated with strong electromagnetic currents in the form of a tokamak, detaching electrons away from their atoms and forming a charged hydrogen ion plasma.

Powerful magnets that slip inside the EAST inner walls, then contain a plasma in a small area to increase the likelihood that the ions will merge.

When ion fuses, they discharge a large amount of energy that can then be used to run a power plant and produce electricity.

A team of Chinese researchers said they are capable of achieving record temperatures using a variety of new methods for controlling heating and plasma, but can only be stored for about 10 seconds.

According to the Chinese Plasma Physics Institute, the latest achievement was the experimental evidence that it is possible to reach 100 million degrees Celsius.

Dr. Hole said that, while the energy potential of fusion energy as a clean energy source has attracted large investments from all parts of the world, including China, Australia lags behind.

"As a nation, Australia is about to lose its ability to fusion," said Dr Hole, adding that many of his colleagues have changed their field or are looking for work abroad because of their lack of investment in fusion science.

Australia has made good investments in this area, but in recent years it has really been neglected. "

He said that the achievement of the EAST would be significant for the next major experiment in the field of global thermonuclear fusion – the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor).

Currently built in the south of France, in cooperation with 35 countries, including China, ITER is the first fusion device to consistently generate net energy, producing 500 megawatts of clean and sustainable energy.

According to the Chinese Plasma Physics Institute, since EAST is a similar ITER project, but on a much smaller scale, it will probably be an important testing device for ITER development.

It is expected that ITER will be ready to create its first plasma and begin operations in 2025.


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