China powered up on Friday its largest "artificial sun," a nuclear fusion reactor designed to replicate the Sun's energy activity by using hydrogen and deuterium gases as fuels. The groundbreaking infrastructure aims at providing clean energy for the country.
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According to local media outlets, the device, located in Sichuan province, can produce plasma hotter than 150 million degrees Celsius, surpassing about ten times the temperature at the core of the Sun.
The HL-2M Tokamak nuclear reactor also achieved its first plasma discharge on Friday, reported China's National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC). The device will also contribute to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, the world's largest nuclear fusion reactor, based in France.
Although fusion energy, which powers the sun, is challenging to achieve, scientists and governments are rushing to develop such devices. It is a strategic source of clean energy and income as fusion does not create radioactive waste.
In 2006, 35 countries, including the United States, Russia, China, Britain, Switzerland, India, Japan, South Korea, and the 27 members of the European Union, launched the ITER project in France to produce fusion energy. The first trials are set for 2025.