China’s Artificial Sun Set A Benchmark After Running At 120 Million Degrees For 100 Seconds

The gadget, which was built at the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science Academy of Sciences, beat the previous record of keeping a plasma temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius for 100 seconds.

The EAST was one of a number of ‘artificial sun’ devices presently under construction as countries compete to become the first to produce a reliable nuclear fusion reactor. Through successful tests, it was quite evident that china took another step towards being able to generate unlimited clean energy through nuclear fusion- a goal publicly seen as the holy grail of sustainable energy- after the first power supply to the device six months ago.

By holding a peak temperature of 160 million degrees, the EAST device seemed to now be efficient of generating temperatures more than 10 times as hot as the surface of the sun, which burned at roughly 15 million degrees Celsius.

Speaking to The Global Times, China’s state-run newspaper, Li Miao, director of the Physics department of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, said that the next aim could see the scientists try to run the device at a consistent temperature for as long as a whole week.

He said that the breakthrough is a significant process and the ultimate goal should be keeping the temperature at a stable level for a long time.

The latest test run broke the previous records set by the same device, and South Korea’s own artificial sun, the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR), which functioned at 100 million degrees Celsius for 20 seconds last December.

The EAST artificial sun is part of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor – the largest global scientific cooperation effort since the progress of the International Space Station three decades ago.

The Global Times reports that the reactor was being developed by China, the EU, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the US. China was financing roughly 9% of its research and development.

If the device carried on with its advancements at its current rate, experts believe successful nuclear fusion could be achieved within the next 30 years. The International Atomic Energy Agency was currently working towards a goal of holding a plasma temperature of 100 million degrees for 300 seconds by 2025.