The Artificial Sun - Nuclear Engineering Of The Future
With the opening of China’s “Artificial Sun”, nuclear engineering has taken a large step into the future.
The HL-21 Tokamak reactor is the largest nuclear reactor in China, and one of the most advanced devices in the world.
The reactor uses an extremely powerful magnetic field to fuse plasma. The reactor itself can reach temperatures over 150 million degrees Celsius – that’s 10 times hotter than the core of the sun!
The reactor was completed in 2019, and first activated late last year, and was nicknamed the “artificial sun” for its insanely high temperatures.
The development of the reactor, and more like it, could be a way to solve China’s energy needs, and also has the potential to benefit energy issues on a global level.
Another massive nuclear reactor is in the works – France’s International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor is expected to be completed in 2025 – and scientists are looking forward to have the two reactors collaborate and to combine their production power.
Nuclear fusion largely seen as the future of nuclear energy, and ‘clean’ energy sources, as it doesn’t create atmospheric pollution. At the same time, fusion energy doesn’t produce radioactive waste, or present a large threat of accidents, unlike nuclear fission.
While it is more expensive than other energy sources, (France’s ITER reactor will cost over $20 billion), fusion energy is the safest and most efficient energy source, and will have a great presence in a healthier future.