Discharge test on Chinese "artificial sun" to be carried out in August

China's "artificial sun" finishes first engineering adjustment
Around August 15th, the first plasma discharge test on China's experimental advanced superconducting Tokamak (EAST), or the so-called "artificial sun", will be conducted at the Science Island in Hefei, in east China's Anhui Province. Once the test succeeds, it will mean that the world's first nuclear fusion device of its kind is completed and will be able to go into actual operation.

The "artificial sun" at the Science Island, the world's first EAST nuclear fusion device, is designed and developed by China itself. The device has now successfully gone through a series of tests, including low-temperature test and power-on test on its magnets, both of which people has followed with attention. This has laid a reliable basis for it to go into operation in the year and pass state appraisal.

The first discharge test in August will draw high attention from scientific circles both in China and overseas. People are concerned with risks involved in electric discharge process. But according to explanations of a researcher partaking in the research work, neutron radiation occurs only during the course of electric discharge and, once the test ceases, radiation will halt. So neutron radiation would not have any impact outside the experiment hall. It is learned that the experiment hall for nuclear fusion is an all-tight enclosed structure made of reinforced concrete, with 1.5-meter-thick walls and 1-meter-thick roof. So the hall is "extremely safe", quoted from the researcher.

So how does the "artificial sun" work? It can make plasmas from deuterium or tritium (two isotopes of hydrogen) that have been put into its vacuum hall. Then the device will increase the intensity of plasmas and raise their temperature, resulting in fusion reaction between them and producing huge quantities of energies. In the future, these energies are useable to humans after they are transformed and transmitted by certain devices in a fusion plant. It is said that deuterium to be extracted from one liter of sea water can produce as much as the amount of heat energy derived from 300 liters of gasoline through burning in the process of complete fusion reaction.

Currently, the second-phase equipment installation is being carried out in an orderly way in vacuum hall of this nuclear fusion device.

By People's Daily Online

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