China turns on nuclear-powered 'artificial sun'

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Chinese scientists have been working on developing smaller versions of the nuclear fusion reactor since 2006.
Chinese scientists have been working on developing smaller versions of the nuclear fusion reactor since 2006.
  • China has successfully powered up its "artificial sun" nuclear fusion reactor.
  • It uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma and can reach temperatures of over 150 million degrees Celsius, which is around ten times hotter than the core of the sun. 
  • Chinese scientists have been working on developing smaller versions of the nuclear fusion reactor since 2006.


China successfully powered up its "artificial sun" nuclear fusion reactor for the first time, state media reported Friday, marking a great advance in the country's nuclear power research capabilities.

The HL-2M Tokamak reactor is China's largest and most advanced nuclear fusion experimental research device, and scientists hope that the device can potentially unlock a powerful clean energy source.

It uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma and can reach temperatures of over 150 million degrees Celsius, according to the People's Daily - approximately ten times hotter than the core of the sun.

Located in southwestern Sichuan province and completed late last year, the reactor is often called an "artificial sun" on account of the enormous heat and power it produces.

"The development of nuclear fusion energy is not only a way to solve China's strategic energy needs, but also has great significance for the future sustainable development of China's energy and national economy," said the People's Daily.

Chinese scientists have been working on developing smaller versions of the nuclear fusion reactor since 2006.

They plan to use the device in collaboration with scientists working on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor - the world's largest nuclear fusion research project based in France, which is expected to be completed in 2025.

Fusion is considered the Holy Grail of energy and is what powers our sun.

It merges atomic nuclei to create massive amounts of energy - the opposite of the fission process used in atomic weapons and nuclear power plants, which splits them into fragments.

Unlike fission, fusion emits no greenhouse gases and carries less risk of accidents or the theft of atomic material.

But achieving fusion is both extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive, with the total cost of ITER estimated at $22.5 billion.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
14.13
-0.0%
Rand - Pound
19.92
-0.0%
Rand - Euro
17.16
-0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.00
-0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Gold
1,843.76
0.0%
Silver
27.42
0.0%
Palladium
2,894.50
0.0%
Platinum
1,229.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
68.71
+2.5%
Top 40
60,573
+0.6%
All Share
66,598
+0.7%
Resource 10
69,386
-0.1%
Industrial 25
83,277
+0.9%
Financial 15
12,685
+1.5%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, and I've gotten it.
21% - 1452 votes
No, I did not.
52% - 3625 votes
My landlord refused
27% - 1924 votes
Vote