On May 28, the magnetic fusion energy reactor Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), known as the “artificial sun”, at the Hefei Institute of Material Science of Chinese Academy of Sciences, set a new world record by reaching a experimentally repeatable 120 million degrees celsius in 101 seconds, and 160 million degrees celsius in 20 seconds for plasma operation, extending the existing benchmark of 100 million degrees celsius in 20 seconds by 5 times.
EAST has a nuclear fusion reaction mechanism similar to that of the sun. In the ten years since its establishment, EAST has continuously made breakthroughs in the research of controllable nuclear fusion. Its operating principle is to add a small amount of hydrogen isotope deuterium or tritium in the vacuum chamber of the device, and generate plasma through a principle similar to a transformer, and then increase its density and temperature to cause a fusion reaction. During the reaction process, huge energy will be generated.
At present, there are more than 200 core technologies and nearly 2,000 patents on EAST, bringing together cutting-edge technologies such as “ultra-high temperature”, “ultra-low temperature”, “ultra-high vacuum”, “ultra-strong magnetic field”, and “ultra-large current” in one furnace. The total power is 34 megawatts, which is equivalent to about 68,000 household microwave ovens heating together.
Song Yuntao, director of the Institute of Plasma Physics, Hefei Institute of Material Science of Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that the new EAST record further proves the feasibility of nuclear fusion energy and also laid a physical and engineering foundation for commercialization.