China successfully powered up "artificial sun" for first time
China successfully powered up

BEIJING: China for the first time successfully powered up its "artificial sun" nuclear fusion reactor, state media reported on Friday. China marks 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. According to the People's Daily reports it uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma and can reach temperatures of over 150 million degrees Celsius which is approximately ten times hotter than the core of the sun. The reactor is called an "artificial sun" located in the southwestern Sichuan region and completed late last year. The People's Daily also said that "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." The scientists of China have been working on developing smaller versions of the nuclear fusion reactor since 2006. The world's largest nuclear fusion research project based in France, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor has a plan to use the device in collaboration with scientists working on which is expected to be completed in 2025. Fusion is considered the Holy Grail of energy and is what powers our sun.

Unlike the fission process, fusion releases 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.

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