The large metal bundle of tubes, wires and panels is, without a doubt, China's largest advancement in a magnetic confinement fusion device serving the country's effort to generate clean energy.
The HL-2M "Tokamak" project was planned and developed separately by the Southwestern Physics Institute (SWIP), a Chinese National Nuclear Corporation research agency (CNNC).
The development of fusion energy would not only met the nation's energy security needs but also has a great significance for the sustainability of its energy sector and the national economy. Nuclear fusion, which produces energy by combining two atomic nuclei, promises to release more energy than it consumes.
If it were to be developed, a fusion reactor would allow scientists to harness the power of the sun.
The Sun's core is about 15 million degrees C. HL-2M Tokamak is able to produce plasma at a temperature of over 150 million degrees Celsius, about ten times hotter than the solar core, to help achieve sustainable controlled nuclear fusion.
“The energy confinement time of international tokamak devices is less than one second. The shot discharge duration of the HL-2M is around 10 seconds, with an energy confinement time of a few hundred milliseconds,” said Yang Qingwei, chief engineer of the HL-2M at the Southwestern Institute of Physics under the CNNC.
At the center of the phenomenon is a so-called fourth state of matter caleld "Plasma." In physics, plasma is the conducting electrical medium in which positive and negative ions are approximately equal. It is often referred to as the fourth state of matter, and varies from solid, liquid, and gaseous states. A plasma can be generated in the laboratory by heating a gas to an incredibly high temperature.
The reactor produces electricity by the use of strong magnetic fields to the heat-plasma loop, which is approximately 10 times hotter than the center of the sun and can achieve temperatures above 150 million celsius.
In South Korea, The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) has made a big leap forward in the creation of a functioning nuclear fusion reactor. Unlocking the potential of nuclear fusion has been the hope of scientists since the early 20th century.
Their reactor maintained a steady stream of plasma for 20 seconds, thus achieving an ion temperature of 100 million degrees C.
This latest technology is a joint collaboration of researchers at the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety, National University, and Columbia University.