For a brief moment earlier this year, a small spot in China blazed with such heat, the Sun would have been staring down at Earth feeling mightily jealous.
MIKE MCRAE Sciencealert
15 NOV 2018
Scientists announced this week that the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor in Hefei has finally achieved a temperature exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius, setting a new record in fusion technology and bringing us closer to a new age in energy.
Harvesting the huge amounts of power released from the fusing of atoms is no easy feat. To throw these particles together with enough force, you need to either squeeze them hard, or slam them together with a mighty crunch.
And Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences has now shown this crunch is achievable.
Deep inside the Sun, hydrogen fuses together at temperatures of around 15 million degrees Celsius (27 million degrees Fahrenheit). That’s with the added push of concentrated gravity.
If we want to achieve that on Earth, we need an oven that’s a hell of a lot hotter. That is, nearly seven times hotter than the interior of the Sun. And then we need to hold that hot hydrogen soup in place long enough to make it worthwhile for producing energy.
If we can achieve that, the payoff would be massive. Unlike nuclear fission – where surplus energy comes from the decay of large atoms into smaller elements – nuclear fusion doesn’t result in anywhere near as much radioactive waste…
Some points to note:
Theoretically, the material that feeds fusion reactions is in greater supply than fossilised hydrocarbons and uranium. It’s plain old hydrogen.
Sadly, not just any kind of hydrogen will do right now – its isotope ‘tritium’ (HE3) is preferred, and it isn’t found in huge supplies.
At least not on Earth.
Actually, it is in great supply on the Moon though.
And mining companies are already gearing up, with intentions to begin serious extraction in (take note) 2030!
So imagine if China beats CERN and ITER to the sustained Fusion goal : A real game changer. And since the US is (as far as can be determined) behind the Eight Ball in the Fusion race, if China stakes it’s claim on Lunar mining of HE3 AND has a Fusion monopoly, then they really have got the world by the balls.