For the first time, Chinese scientists have tested a thermonuclear reactor called the “artificial sun.” It is 13 times hotter than the present. Its temperature can reach up to 200 million°C.
The HL-2M Tokamak Reactor is China’s largest and most advanced fusion research experimental device. Scientists hope this device has the potential to become a powerful source of clean energy. It uses a magnetic field to melt hot plasma and reach temperatures above 200 million°C. It is about ten times hotter than the Sun’s core.
The reactor is located in the southwestern province of Sichuan and was completed at the end of 2019. The device is informally called “artificial sun” since it produces a huge amount of heat and energy. They plan to use the device in collaboration with scientists working on the International Fusion Experimental Reactor, the world’s largest fusion research project based in France. It is scheduled to be completed in 2025.
“The development of nuclear fusion energy is not only a way to solve China’s strategic energy problems, but is also of great importance for the future sustainable development of China’s energy and national economy,” writes People’s Daily.
Unlike fission, fusion does not emit greenhouse gases and carries a lower risk of accidents. But it is complicated and expensive to achieve thermonuclear fusion: the reactor’s total cost is estimated at $22.5 billion.