The test was conducted using the technology of Experiential Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST)
China is undertaking ongoing tests on an “artificial sun”, dubbed Experiential Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), for extracting clean and sustainable energy by 2040. The unique device consists of a fusion reactor that successfully ran for almost 20 minutes at 70 million degrees Celsius during a recent test. The machine is built to utilize the power of nuclear fission, a methodology that is rarely explored for harnessing nuclear energy.
The setup and mechanism of the device mimic the nuclear reactions taking place inside the real sun and use hydrogen and deuterium gases as fuels. Scientists believe that this would bring them closer to “unlimited clean energy”.
The reactor is currently being tested to make the auxiliary heating system hotter and more durable. Designed and built in China, the reactor has been used for carrying out nuclear fission experiments since 2006. According to a report by South China Morning Post, the “artificial sun” ran at 70 million degrees Celsius for 17 minutes and 36 seconds in the latest experiment. This makes the device 5 times hotter than the real sun with a temperature of 15 million degrees Celsius at its core.
The reactor boils the hydrogen isotopes (hydrogen and deuterium) into a plasma for reaching extremely high temperatures. The fusion of these elements results in the release of a tremendous amount of energy that takes the form of heat in the reactor. Now, scientists have been tackling the challenge of maintaining temperatures above 100 million degrees Celsius and operating the setup in a stabilized manner for a longer period of time.
Song Yuntao, the director of The Institute of Plasma Physics says, “Five years from now, we will start to build our fusion reactor, which will need another 10 years of construction.” He believes that the construction of a power generator would be successfully completed (with the device being operational) by 2040.