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Current Affairs

China’s Artificial sun

Date: 04 June 2021 Tags: Energy

Issue

The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), also known as “artificial sun” has achieved 216 million degrees Fahrenheit temperature for 101 seconds.

 

Background

The sun is able to achieve high temperatures due to fusion reactions. The previous attempts to simulate the sun have proved unsuccessful.

 

Details

  • The reactor achieved a peak temperature of 288 million degrees Fahrenheit which is about 10 times hotter than sun.

  • The experiment is a new step towards promoting alternative cleaner energy that produces limited wastage and is limitless.

 

EAST

  • The East is an artificial experimental device to mimic nuclear fusion reaction. It is located in Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences of China.

  • The main aim of the experiments is to replicate the process of fusion through which the sun produces its energy.

  • The EAST is one among the three experimental fusion reactors currently being run across China. The other two are HL-2A and J-TEXT.

  • The East is part of International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) facility, which will be the biggest nuclear fusion reactor after becoming operational.

  • Member countries contributing to the project includes India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

 

Working of East

  • The current nuclear fission reaction generates waste along with energy. The fusion is instead without waste and the amount of energy generated is also higher.

  • The device will try to emulate the nuclear fusion process that takes place in stars and sun and considered to be future of renewable energy.

  • The fuel will be heated to very high temperatures to convert it into plasma form. It will be kept away for long duration away from walls to prevent cooling down.

 

Benefits of nuclear fusion

  • Nuclear fusion does not emit green house gases. It does not generate waste by-products unlike the nuclear fission.

  • Nuclear fusion currently is not controlled. Once it is mastered, it will be an unlimited source of clean energy at less cost.