China’s Artificial Sun Leads Global Advancements

China has announced the establishment of a new state-owned company called China Fusion Energy Inc. This company will coordinate efforts to create a thermonuclear nuclear reactor known as the “artificial sun.” The creation of this reactor is part of China’s strategy to develop safe and nearly limitless energy sources.

China Fusion Energy Inc. is being organized by the Chinese National Nuclear Energy Corporation (CNNC) and will bring together research and development in the field of thermonuclear energy. Previously, these efforts were spread across various scientific institutions and private companies. To address key challenges in this area, a consortium of 25 organizations, including state enterprises and four universities, has been formed.

China aims to have an industrial prototype reactor by 2035 and plans for large-scale commercial use of this technology by 2050. Thermonuclear fusion is seen as an ideal solution to the global energy problem, offering safe, clean, and virtually unlimited energy production without the long-lasting radioactive waste produced by nuclear fission.

One particular area of focus in scientific research is the “magnetic confinement” technology, which involves heating and compressing plasma inside a Tokamak reactor in the shape of a giant donut. However, challenges remain in creating and sustaining powerful plasma for an extended period to enable the fusion of hydrogen atoms and generate electricity.

China is a global leader in the field of thermonuclear fusion, having filed more patents in this technology than any other country or region from 2011 to 2022. In August, the South-Western Institute of Physics (SWIP) achieved a plasma current of over 1 million amperes on its Tokamak HL-2A. Additionally, the experimental advanced superconducting Tokamak (EAST), developed by the Institute of Plasma Physics in Hefei, became the world’s first fully superconducting Tokamak and achieved a record pulse duration of 1.056 seconds in 2021.

This project demonstrates China’s ambitious plans to develop and commercialize thermonuclear energy, which could be a significant breakthrough in meeting global energy needs.

/Reports, release notes, official announcements.