Britain’s ‘Artificial Sun’ Sets New Record on Generating Energy From Nuclear Fusion Reactor

British scientists announced on Wednesday, Feb. 9, that they had set a new record for fusion power, a potential future source of near-limitless clean energy.

Nuclear fusion is the same process the sun uses to generate heat, and proponents believe it could one day help tackle climate change by providing an abundant, safe, and environmentally friendly source of energy.

The future of energy


(Photo : STR/AFP via Getty Images)
Chinas HL-2M nuclear fusion device, known as the new generation of “artificial sun”, is displayed at a research laboratory in Chengdu, in eastern China’s Sichuan province on December 4, 2020. – China successfully powered its “artificial sun” nuclear fusion reactor for the first time, state media reported on December 4, marking a great advance in the country’s nuclear power research capabilities

According to Dailymail, Britain has been one among the leading players within the field ever since the Joint European Torus (JET) was designed on an industrial estate outside Oxford in 1978, and currently, it’s achieved a brand new world record.

The “artificial sun” near Oxford emitted 59 megajoules of energy over 5 seconds.

This broke the previous fusion energy record set also by JET 25 years ago.

If scientists can harness fusion energy, they hope to create infinitely pure energy, as per CGTN.

These results are “the strongest demonstration worldwide of the potential of fusion energy to provide safe, sustainable, low-carbon energy,” the agency of JET said.

The donut-shaped machine used in the experiment is called a tokamak and operates the world’s largest JET facility.

A very small amount of fuel made up of the isotopes of hydrogen, deuterium, and tritium is heated inside to a temperature ten times higher than the center of the sun, creating a plasma.

As superconducting electromagnet spins, it releases tremendous energy in the form of heat, which is held in place by the superconducting electromagnet, according to CGTN.

Professor Ian Chapman, the chief executive of the UK Atomic Energy Authority said via Dailymail that, “These landmark results have taken us a huge step closer to conquering one of the biggest scientific and engineering challenges of them all.”

Read more: Electricity: Alternative Renewable Sources Beat Fossil Fuels for First Time in History 

Nuclear fusion nearly for industrial scale?

ITER, a larger and more advanced version of JET, was currently being built in southern France, where the Oxford data will prove vital when it comes online, possibly as soon as 2025.

Tony Donne of the EUROfusion consortium, stated: “If we can maintain fusion for five seconds, we can do it for five minutes and then five hours as we scale up our operations in future machines.”

As per Dailymail, this is because international cooperation in the field of fusion energy cannot use this technology as a weapon, unlike the fission used in modern nuclear power plants that have historically maintained close ties.

Countries like China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, and the United States are participating in the French ITER megaproject.

South Korea additionally has its own “artificial sun,” the Korea Superconducting tokamak Advanced analysis (KSTAR), that has run at 180million°F (100million°C) for 20 seconds.

Fusion is taken into account as the Holy Grail of energy and is what powers our sun as the world has an ever-increasing demand for electricity and a deteriorating environment.

Related Article: Green Power: Renewable Energy Capacity Had a 45% Rise Amidst the Pandemic 

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