In Hefei, China, the Experimental Advanced Supraconductor Tokamak (EAST), an experimental superconducting tokamak reactor with magnetic confinement, has been in operation since 2006. It is administered by the Hefei Institutes of Physical Sciences for the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The EAST is designed to run multiple experiments. In particular, it was possible to test superconducting poloid field magnets in niobium-titanium. This makes it the first company to use such a technology. The Experimental Advanced Supraconductor Tokamak allows you to conduct a wide variety of other experiments, each more complex than the other.
On Friday, the EAST fusion reactor managed to keep its plasma at a temperature of 120 million degrees Celsius for more than 1 minute and 40 seconds. The reactor even reached a temperature of 160 million degrees Celsius for 20 seconds.
10 times hotter than the sun!
These numbers are impressive, but not very meaningful. To better understand the meaning of this data, one would have to compare this temperature with that of the sun. According to the latest research, the core of the sun generates heat of around 15 million degrees Celsius.
In other words, the EAST managed to generate ten times more heat than the sun for about twenty seconds. This is an important milestone for the EAST reactor, nicknamed the “Artificial Sun” because of its ability to mimic the natural process of nuclear fusion in stars. It could help unravel the mystery of creating long-lasting and reliable fusion energy.
Li Miao, director of the physics department of the Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China, told the Global Times, “This experiment is a significant advance, and the ultimate goal should be to keep the temperature stable for a long time” It should also be noted that the Experimental Advanced Supraconductor Tokamak clearly surpassed its own record of 100 million degrees Celsius in 2018.