China's artificial sun is 5 times hotter than the original, what's the point? If it explodes, the Earth is Doomsday?

China's artificial sun breaks a new world record. That's after the China-made Sun heated one cycle of plasma to a temperature five times hotter than the Sun for more than 17 minutes. The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) nuclear fusion reactor maintains a temperature of 158 million degrees Fahrenheit (70 million degrees Celsius) for 1,056 seconds. This achievement brings scientists one step closer to creating an almost limitless source of clean energy.

Breaking record

China's experimental nuclear fusion reactor broke the previous record, set by France's Tore Supra Tokamak in 2003. At that time, the plasma in the circle remained at the same temperature for 390 seconds. EAST had previously set another record in May 2021 by holding out for 101 seconds at an unprecedented 120 million degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, the actual temperature of the Sun is only about 15 million degrees Celsius.

"Recent operations laid a solid scientific and experimental foundation for running the fusion reactor," said experiment leader Gong Xianzu.

Energy generator

Scientists have been trying to harness the power of nuclear fusion for more than 70 years. By combining hydrogen atoms to make helium under extremely high pressure and temperature, it is able to convert matter into light and heat. It is hoped that the artificial sun will produce large amounts of energy without producing greenhouse gases or long-lasting radioactive waste. However, replicating the conditions found in stellar cores is no easy task. The most common design for a fusion reactor, the tokamak, works by heating the plasma before trapping it in the reactor chamber with a strong magnetic field.

But keeping the turbulent, superheated plasma coils in place long enough for nuclear fusion to occur is a painstaking process. Soviet scientist Natan Yavlinsky designed the first Tokamak in 1958. However, no one has ever succeeded in building an experimental reactor capable of releasing more energy than needed. One of the main stumbling blocks is how to deal with plasma that is hot enough to fuse. Getting the plasma to a temperature hotter than the Sun is the relatively easy part, but finding a way to confine it so it doesn't burn through the reactor walls and without destroying the fusion process is a complicated process.

Earth Can Melt

EAST is made in Hefei City, Anhui Province, eastern China. The device is a combination of solar nuclear fusion, which uses a magnetic field and the chemical deuterium. Then, what is the impact on the earth if a leak occurs or even explodes?

Dhandang Purwadhi, head of the Center for Nuclear Reactor Technology and Safety at the National Nuclear Energy Agency, said leaks from China's artificial sun could melt the earth. According to him, the artificial sun is still experimental. However, there may be potential dangers.

“Research has its limits, so it should not be destructive. In terms of the heat that comes out is huge, it can melt anything on the earth's surface," he said.

Nevertheless, Dhandang believes, researchers have limitations related to Tokamak. EAST is expected to cost more than $1 trillion when the experiment is completed in June 2022.


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