China’s artificial sun breaks record for longest sustained nuclear fusion


The China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said Tuesday the HL-2M Tokamak ‘artificial sun’ can cross 150 million degrees Celsius. It uses a “magnetic field to fuse hot plasma,” Xinhua news agency reported.

The innovation is seen as a massive advancement of Beijing’s nuclear research capabilities, using hydrogen and deuterium gases as fuels.

The device, located in Chengdu in Sichuan province, is expected to give clean energy through nuclear fusion.

According to the news report, the device is China’s highest in parameters and most significant in scale. It has a more advanced control mode and structure than the HL-2A Tokamak.

However, the energy confinement time of tokamak devices is less than one second. It is pertinent to state that the shot discharge duration of the HL-2M Tokamak is 10 seconds, with energy confinement.

China’s “artificial sun” recently set a new world record. It was superheating a plasma loop – five times hotter than the sun for 17 minutes.

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The achievement brings scientists a step closer to creating near-unlimited clean energy.

The experimental nuclear fusion reactor broke France’s Tore Supra tokamak’s previous record in 2003, where plasma remained at similar temperatures for 6 minutes 30 seconds.

EAST had previously made another record by running for 101 seconds in May 2021 at an unprecedented 120 million C. In contrast, the core of the actual sun reaches temperatures of around 15 million celsius.

Scientists have been harnessing nuclear fusion power for more than 70 years. In a bid to make helium by fusing hydrogen atoms under high temperatures and pressures, the main-sequence stars convert matter into heat and light, generating vast amounts of energy without producing long-lasting radioactive waste.

About Ruhab

Ruhab is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Pakistan, a Pakistan-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

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