Chinese scientists announced that they have developed the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), a nuclear fusion reactor that achieved a temperature exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius in its core plasma during a four-month experiment this year, which is approximately seven times greater than the 15 million degrees Celsius interior of the sun. This breakthrough enabled researchers to study how plasma reacts at such temperatures, which could one day lead to the technology becoming a safe and reliable option for limitless, clean energy. Read more for another video of the reactor and additional information.
Medical researcher Zhang Tiankan said that to achieve sustained fusion energy, researchers would need to raise the temperature to “hundreds of millions of degrees” and lengthen the pulse to “thousands of seconds”, with more research needed to enhance the control-ability of the reaction and realize the goal of creating energy using the same process that powers the sun.
“It’s certainly a significant step for China’s nuclear fusion program and an important development for the whole world,” Dr Hole said, adding that developing fusion reactors could be the solution to global energy problems. The benefit is simple in that it is very large-scale base load [continuous] energy production, with zero greenhouse gas emissions and no long-life radioactive waste,” said associate professor Matthew Hole from the Australian National University to ABC News.