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China makes breakthrough in nuclear fusion development

Reporter: Zheng Chunying 丨 CCTV.com

12-11-2016 05:39 BJT

The idea of nuclear fusion has long been sought after as a kind of Holy Grail of nuclear scientists. It is more powerful than existing nuclear fission technology. And now Chinese researchers have managed to come up a major breakthrough. 

With a potential of harnessing clean, limitless energy.

Thermonuclear fusion is also known as the “artificial sun".

And this is one of the core components of this artificial sun.

Independently invented by China, the scientific breakthrough has been authenticated by prestigious international organizations -- a milestone contribution to this field of study.  

"The component we invented is one of the first of its kind in the world that has passed the international cyclic heat test. It really means a lot -- it's a great contribution to the international field of thermonuclear experimental reactors," said Cheng Jiming, China National Nuclear Corporation.

Different from nuclear fission, which involves the splitting of atoms, nuclear fusion involves two or more atomic nuclei colliding at high speeds to create a new nucleus.

Fusion occurs when two hydrogen nuclei merge to form an atom of helium. During the process, a small amount of mass is converted into an enormous amount of heat. 

Using the chemical element extracted from one liter of seawater, the technology can produce energy equivalent to that generated by burning 300 liters of gasoline.

However, the huge energy that is output, can also impose a challenge.







"One of its biggest functions is to protect the other components of the devices from the huge energy produced from the fusion, and it ends up taking away some of the energy it produces."



In fact, many fusion research facilities have been set up around the world in attempts to solve the fusion-control problem. The largest facility is under construction in France. The international thermonuclear experimental reactor there is expected to fire its first pulse of plasma by 2025.


China is the only nation in the world increasing its budget for fusion research...


The funding and opportunities available in China have attracted fusion scientists from around the world, eager to solve the world's energy and environmental pollution problems once and for all...


And if the technology is commercialized, it may provide energy to mankind for more than 100 years.

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