"Chinese artificial sun" pushes past 100 million degrees

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

Chinese fusion experiment generates an electron temperature of over 100 million degrees

The four-month experiment shows that China is making significant progress towards tokamak-based fusion energy production, the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said.

A laboratory in eastern China's Anhui Province has announced that its Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) has reached a core plasma temperature of over 100,000,000 C - a huge breakthrough in the fusion reactor experiment.

It should be noted that the core of our real Sun is just 15 million degrees Celsius hot.

One way of doing this is to inject plasma into a reactor and hold it in place with magnetic fields; tokamaks like EAST do this using the fields generated by the moving plasma itself.

The process of nuclear fusion, where two hydrogen atoms combine in a reaction that produces an enormous amount of energy, is often called the "great white whale" of global energy.

The high temperatures inside a fusion reactor tear electrons away from their atoms and form a charged plasma of hydrogen ions. The device is now being hailed as a strong candidate in the search for a nuclear fusion reactor.

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The EAST that pulled off the 100 million Celsius feat stands at 11 metres tall, has a diameter of 8 metres and weighs about 360 tonnes.

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

When the ions fuse they give off a large amount of energy, which can then be harnessed to run a power plant and produce electricity.

Now, the team has said it has managed to generate plasma with a temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius. The project will also provide experimental evidence and scientific support for the country's ongoing China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor project, which is similarly working to develop nuclear fusion.

Now being built in southern France with collaboration from 35 nations including China, ITER is set to be the first experimental fusion device to produce net energy, producing 10 times more energy than the power required to run it, according to the project website.

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