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Fusion Reactor: 90 Million Degrees Maintained by Chinese for 102 Seconds

Image: Fusion Reactor: 90 Million Degrees Maintained by Chinese for 102 Seconds
(Hefei Institute of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

By    |   Wednesday, 10 Feb 2016 08:25 AM

A Chinese fusion reactor heated hydrogen gas to 90 million degrees last week, a temperature three times hotter than the core of the sun.

"The breakthrough puts China one step ahead in the global race to harness a new, artificial kind of solar energy for clean and unlimited energy, the researchers claim," the South China Morning Post reported.

The experiment was conducted at the Institute of Physical Science in Hefei, capital of Jiangsu province, and maintained the high temperature for 102 seconds.

Popular Mechanics explained that the institute's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) is shaped like a doughnut, and uses magnetic fields to control the plasma fields it facilitates.

The publication pointed out that while "other fusion experiments have reached up into the billions of degrees and ion colliders like the LHC have been known to reach into the trillions," the Chinese experiment was important because of how long the 90 million-degree plasma was maintained.

"One of the chief barriers to practical nuclear fusion," it explained, is "keeping plasma around and under control for a long enough time."

Other reactors of a similar design have only maintained plasma at similarly high temps for about 20 seconds.

In Germany, the Wendelstein X-7 Stellarator nuclear reactor has conducted high-temperatures plasma tests lasting just fractions of a second. The Stellarator is much more sophisticated, however, and it's designed to eventually ramp up to maintain plasma for 30 minutes.

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A Chinese fusion reactor heated hydrogen gas to 90 million degrees last week, a temperature three times hotter than the core of the sun.
fusion, reactor, 90 million degrees, chinese
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2016-25-10
Wednesday, 10 Feb 2016 08:25 AM
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