Artificial sun: Chinas Latest Experiment

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24 December 2021 Current Affairs:For the advancement of its “artificial sun,” China conducted a nuclear fusion experiment.

Highlights:

  • Hefei Institute of Physical Science launched the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) heating system in December 2021.
  • The goal of the EAST heating system experiment was to make the artificial sun or auxiliary heating system ‘hotter and more durable.
  • A large doughnut-shaped installation known as a Tokamak cost China 6 billion yuan.
  • Tokamaks boil hydrogen isotopes into a plasma and then fuse them together to release energy at extremely high temperatures.
  • If the released energy can be harnessed, it will only require a small amount of fuel and produce virtually no radioactive waste.
  • The EAST system, which went live in 2006, simulates the nuclear fusion process.
  • In June 2021, this experiment set a new record by reaching a temperature of 160 million degrees Celsius, ten times that of the sun.

EAST

  • EAST, Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak, based in Hefei, China, is a superconducting tokamak magnetic fusion energy reactor. Hefei Institutes of Physical Science is conducting experiments for the Chinese Academy of Sciences. 
  • It has been in operation since 2006. The EAST tokamak is the first to use superconducting toroidal and poloidal magnets. Plasma pulses lasting up to 1000 seconds are the goal of the experiment.
  • The EAST experiment came after China’s first superconducting tokamak, the HT-7. It was built in the 1990s by the Institute of Plasma Physics in collaboration with Russia. 
  • The proposal for this project was made in 1996, and it was approved in 1998.
  •  The building was finished in March 2006. In September 2006, the first plasma was produced.

ITER 

  • China is also a participant in the ITER project. It is the most ambitious project to date, involving 35 countries. 
  • In France, the project is being developed. Countries are constructing the world’s largest tokamak as part of this project. 
  • The Tokamak is a magnetic fusion device that was created to demonstrate the viability of fusion as a large-scale, carbon-free energy source. 
  • It works on the same principle as the Sun and the stars.

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