Nuclear fusion: in China the EAST reactor remained stable for 101 seconds

The China runs fast when it comes to scientific research. We have seen this with the recent series of space missions (ranging from low Earth orbit, to the Moon to Mars). Even in the field of physics, the eastern nation is not looking to reach a new record in these days nuclear fusion.

This kind of experiments promise to lead, in a few decades, to the realization of large amounts of energy. These should be able to replace energy sources such as those from fossil fuels which are harmful in environmental terms (for the carbon dioxide emitted) as well as for health. The path to get to get one stable nuclear fusion however, it is still long. For this the effort of scientists around the world are working together.

China and the new record for nuclear fusion

The technical and technological bases are substantially known and implemented in different parts of the world thanks to experimental reactors (for example the international consortium ITER). To maintain stable a nuclear fusion reaction it is the real stumbling block to allow us to have an exploitable source.

A step forward was made by the China with the Tokamak advanced superconducting experimental reactor (known as EAST). According to reports, another record was reached on May 28 by managing to maintain the temperature of 120 million degrees centigrade for 101 “. It has also managed to reach 160 million degrees centigrade but “only” per 20″.

The experimental reactor it is located at the Institutes of Physical Sciences in Hefei and is not the only fusion reactor in China (there are two others). Previously, the record was achieved in South Korea with the KSTAR nuclear fusion reactor which last year reached 100 million large centigrade by 20 “.

Li Miao (director of the physics department of Southern University of Science and Technology) said that “This breakthrough is significant progress and the ultimate goal should be to keep the temperature at a stable level for a long time”.

Maintaining such a high temperature for a long time (even just tens of seconds) is very complex. The plasma, kept in a chamber where an extreme vacuum is created, is confined thanks to super magnetism which must be cooled to very low temperatures. To do this, you need high technology and quality (as well as expensive) engineering.

Thanks to this kind of experiments, individual nations are making strides towards maintaining plasma stability. The individual lines of research will then be conveyed to ITER. In the future we will aim to reach a few days or weeks of reactor ignition (but still for a long time they will not be actually connected to the electricity grid). We will then move on to the construction of reactors ever closer to the final ones, ready for the genre of actually useful energy.

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