China’s Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), also known as the “artificial sun,” made a significant breakthrough on Wednesday evening. EAST achieved a high power, stable, 403-second steady-state long-pulse high confinement mode plasma operation, setting a new world record for steady-state high confinement mode operation of a tokamak device.
The innovation achieved by the EAST device provides an important experimental basis for the operation of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and the independent construction and operation of fusion reactors in China.
EAST is the world’s first fully superconducting tokamak device in operation. It is located at the Plasma Physics Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Hefei, East China’s Anhui Province. The ultimate goal of EAST is to create nuclear fusion, which mimics processes in the Sun, using deuterium found in the sea to provide a steady stream of clean energy.
Nuclear fusion and nuclear fission are two different processes for generating energy from the atom. Nuclear fission involves splitting heavy atoms into smaller ones, releasing a large amount of energy in the process. This process is used in nuclear power plants to generate electricity. However, it produces radioactive waste that is dangerous and difficult to dispose of. On the other hand, nuclear fusion involves combining light atomic nuclei to form heavier ones, releasing an even greater amount of energy. This process is what powers the Sun and other stars.
One of the main benefits of nuclear fusion is that the raw materials required for it are almost unlimited on earth. Deuterium, which is a key fuel for fusion, can be extracted from seawater in virtually unlimited quantities. Fusion energy is also considered the ideal “ultimate energy” for the future of humanity because it is safe, clean, and efficient. Unlike fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas, which will eventually run out and pose a threat to the environment, fusion energy has the potential to provide a virtually unlimited source of clean energy for future generations.
The EAST device has made significant progress in advancing nuclear fusion technology. In January, EAST made another breakthrough by discovering and demonstrating a new plasma operation scenario called Super I-Mode. The news was published in an article in Science Advances, according to the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
The recent achievement by EAST provides an important experimental basis for the operation of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). ITER is a joint international research and development project that aims to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy for peaceful purposes. It is currently under construction in Cadarache, France, and is expected to be operational by 2025.
In addition to supporting ITER, the EAST device is also helping China to develop its own independent fusion energy program. China has been investing heavily in fusion research in recent years, with the goal of building its own fusion power plants by the middle of this century. The success of the EAST device is a significant step towards achieving this goal.
In conclusion, the recent breakthrough by the EAST device is a significant achievement in advancing nuclear fusion technology. The ultimate goal of creating a clean, safe, and virtually unlimited source of energy for future generations is becoming increasingly achievable with each passing year. With continued investment and research, fusion energy has the potential to revolutionize the way we power our world and ensure a sustainable future for humanity.
WORDS: Scientific Inquirer Staff.