Going back in December of 2019, China has announced that its “artificial sun” will soon start operating, a device designed to replicate nuclear fusion, the same type of reaction that powers the sun. The device was to be built by the end of 2019 and be operational in 2020.
Then, in December 2020, the nuclear fusion reactor, named Tokamak HL-2M, was powered up for the first time. Now, the nuclear reactor broke a world record. The artificial sun, also called the advanced experimental superconducting Tokamak, reached the plasma temperature of 216 million degrees Fahrenheit (one hundred twenty million degrees Celsius) for 101 seconds and two hundred eighty-eight million degrees Fahrenhende (one hundred and sixty million degrees Celsius) for 20 seconds, according to Chinese newspapers.
A previous record of maintaining plasma temperature at one hundred eighty million degrees F (one hundred million degrees C) for one hundred seconds has now been broken and according to Li Miao, director of the Physics Department of Southern University of Science and Technology at Shenzhen, this step is a milestone to achieve the goal of maintaining the temperature at a stable level for a long time, a necessary step to operate the nuclear fusion reactor.
“The breakthrough is significant progress, and the ultimate goal is to keep the temperature at a stable level for a long time,” LI told the Global Times.
But, according to Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research, energy research at Xiamen University is thirty years away from producing a functioning artificial sun. We will see where Chinese research can lead and what it has in store for the future. For now we can only look at the effects of the study with great hope and participation, waiting for more effective results of the research in question.