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

China's 'Artificial Sun' Marks Breakthrough for Nuclear Fusion

Chinese researchers pushing to find a major clean energy source have created an incredible artificial sun that can reach temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius - a heat so intense it makes the real sun seem merely lukewarm.

Every nuclear reactor now operating on Earth is a fission reactor - using energy released when heavy atoms such as uranium decay into smaller atoms, a process similar to the one used in the first nuclear weapons. The tokamak - a type of device that confines hot plasma by using magnetic fields to prevent it from touching and melting its container - is a strong contender in the scientific search for a practical fusion reactor. "Besides, nuclear fusion does not produce any radioactive waste, so it is extremely environmentally friendly", said the researchers in a recently issued statement. Numerous world's other energy sources, such as coal, produce carbon when processed, which contributes to climate change. However, for nuclear fusion very high initial temperature is needed. Scientists at Google and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are now working on their own nuclear fusion projects as well.

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

According to the Institute of Plasma Physics, the results of EAST's experiments this year will aid in the construction of ITER's tokamak.


But the goal for EAST is not to send it into space and replace the real thing.

Associate professor Matthew Hole from the Australian National University told ABC: "It's certainly a significant step for China's nuclear fusion program and an important development for the whole world". It is this plasma that led EAST to heat to such a high temperature.

The temperature at the core of the sun is said to be about 15 million degrees Celsius, making the plasma in China's "artificial sun" more than six times hotter than the original.

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