China's nuclear scientists have reached an important milestone in the global quest for energy from fusion.
A team of scientists from the Institute of Plasma Physics in China said this week that the plasma of an experimental superconducting tokamak (EAST), called the "artificial sun", reached a massive 100 million degrees, To reach the required temperature. Rather than running.
The temperature in the center of the Sun is about 15 million degrees Celsius for perspective, and the artificial sun in China is six times more hotter than the original.
The news comes as China plans to launch an "artificial moon" bright enough to replace urban street lights by 2020, shocking the scientific community last month.
Matthew Hole, an associate professor at the Australian National University, said in an ABC interview that the achievement is an important step in fusion science.
Dr. Hall said, "It is an important step for China's fusion program and important development." Fusion reactor development can be a solution to global energy problems, he added.
The advantage is simple in that it is a very large base load. [continuous] Energy production has no greenhouse gas emissions and no long-lived radioactive waste.
"It provides bullet energy solutions.
He also added that nuclear fusion reactors are avoiding the risks associated with fission reactors currently in use, which can be applied to dangerous weapons and cause possible catastrophic collapse.
News is viral in Chinese social media. Most users were excited about this achievement.
One user at Weibo said, "There is nothing China can do."
Others have declared, "If this technology is used, the world will not worry about the energy crisis anymore."
So how could China solve it?
While current nuclear power plants rely on atomic nucleus fragmentation, the fragmented chain reaction of uranium atoms to release energy causes fission by effectively fusing atoms.
One way to achieve this on Earth is to use a device known as tokamak, which is a stellar tokamak that replicates the naturally occurring fusion process in the sun and generates energy.
The EAST is 10 meters in height, 8 meters in diameter and weighs about 360 tons.
It uses rings to accommodate heavy and very heavy isotopes (atomic changes) of hydrogen, known as deuterium and tritium.
The isotope is heated by the strong current in the tokamak, releasing the electrons from the atom and forming a charged plasma of hydrogen ions.
The powerful magnets surrounding the inner walls of the EAST contain a small area of the plasma to maximize the potential for ion fusion.
When the ions are fused, a large amount of energy can be released to start the power plant and produce electricity.
A team of researchers in China said that using a variety of new technologies to heat and control the plasma can achieve the recording temperature, but can maintain the state for about 10 seconds.
According to a recent groundbreaking study by the Institute of Plasma Physics in China, experimental evidence of up to 100 million degrees Celsius was presented.
Hall said that the potential for nuclear fusion as a clean energy source has attracted a lot of investment from countries around the world, including China, but Australia is behind.
"As a nation, Australia will lose its ability to converge," Hall said. He added that many of his colleagues are either looking to change jobs or seek jobs overseas because of lack of investment in convergence science.
Australia has made good investments in this space, but has been ignored in recent years. "
He said the achievements of EAST will be important for the development of the next major test, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), in international fusion science.
Built in southern France through cooperation with 35 countries, including China, ITER will be the first convergence device to continuously produce net energy producing 500 megawatts of clean and sustainable electricity.
EAST has a similar design to the ITER, but it will be an important test device in the ITER development process on a much smaller scale, the China Plasma Physics Institute said.
It is anticipated that the ITER will be ready to make its first plasma and start operation in 2025.