World’s largest “artificial sun” installation starts

Controlled nuclear fusion device commonly known as the “artificial sun” is the ultimate energy dream to illuminate the future of mankind. Recently, china has received good news: the Sino-French consortium led by The China Nuclear Group has created favorable conditions for the full implementation of the installation of the core equipment of the “artificial sun” – this is a substantial step towards the high-end market of nuclear energy in China, which will lay a solid foundation for China’s deep participation in international cooperation in fusion, independent design and construction of the future China fusion reactor.

The crane lifts the Duva base of the International Thermonuclear Fusion Laboratory reactor into the Tokamakki pit. (File picture)

China Circulator II, built by China Nuclear Group. (China Nuclear Group Fors.

The International Thermonuclear Fusion Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor in France, has reached a major milestone in recent days as construction crews begin installing the first major components of the reactor Tokamak. Previously, the Sino-French consortium led by the China Nuclear Group carried out the relevant installation base- Duva base reception and lifting preparations on schedule, as the core equipment installation work to fully develop to create favorable conditions. This is a substantial step towards the high-end market of nuclear energy, which will lay a solid foundation for China’s deep participation in international cooperation in fusion, independent design and construction of future Chinese fusion reactors.

From “By the Sun” to “Making the Sun”

Controlled nuclear fusion device commonly known as “artificial sun”, is the global nuclear fusion generation relay run, committed to illuminate the future of mankind’s ultimate energy dream. With global population growth and economic development, energy demand will continue to grow. However, the earth’s limited fossil fuel reserves, the search for future energy has become a top priority.

Everything grows by the sun, whether it is traditional fossil energy, or wind energy, bioenergy and other new energy, its essence is solar energy. And the sun’s energy, scientists have long known: the nuclear fusion reaction from within it.

So, can we simulate the principle of the sun’s energy generation and develop controlled nuclear fusion technology to create the “sun”?

The expert’s answer is yes: not only, but also necessary.

“Controlled nuclear fusion is one of the important ways to solve the energy and environmental problems of human society and promote the sustainable development of human society. Duan Xuru, director of the Southwest Institute of Physics of the nuclear industry of China Nuclear Group, said.

In terms of necessity, fossil energy is non-renewable and polluted, wind and hydro energy are unstable, nuclear fission energy is limited, nuclear waste is radioactive, so the need to find abundant, clean and efficient new energy – at present, the most likely to play this role is controllable nuclear fusion energy. Moreover, controlled nuclear fusion does not emit harmful gases, which is conducive to solving the current environmental pollution problem.

In terms of feasibility, the raw material for nuclear fusion is the isotope of hydrogen (thorium and thorium), which is extremely abundant on Earth. “The radon is so abundant in seawater that a 1 liter of seawater is able to release the equivalent of 300 liters of gasoline after a full fusion reaction. Duan Xuru said.

The difficulty of a word difference

From nuclear fission to nuclear fusion, it’s never manageable – just a word apart, but the technical difficulty is too great. “Less than 10 years after the world’s first atomic bomb exploded, nuclear fission technology was peacefully used and nuclear power plants were built. As a result, many people have been optimistic that the peaceful use of nuclear fusion will take long to achieve , but after more than half a century of efforts by scientists around the world, it has not yet been successful, said Zhong Wuru, a special researcher at the Southwest Institute of Physics in the nuclear industry of the China Nuclear Group.

Zhong Wu-law made a simple comparison. Solar energy stabilizes nuclear fusion because it not only has a high temperature of more than 15 million degrees Celsius inside, but also has an ultra-high pressure of about 300 billion atmospheres. And the earth can not reach such a high air pressure, can only work hard at high temperatures, the need to raise the temperature to hundreds of millions of degrees Celsius. “Don’t say how to produce such a high temperature, even if it does, you can’t find the container ‘blooming’ it. The earth’s most heat-resistant metal material, tungsten, melts at more than 3,000 degrees Celsius, Zhong said.

However, human beings will not be intimidated by difficulties. Since the 1950s, scientists have been exploring a series of magnetic-restraint technology routes, and by the 1960s, soviet scientists had come up with the Tokamak scheme, which had been surprisingly effective and interesting. Tokamak, simply a ring container that uses magnetic constraints to achieve controlled nuclear fusion. Its center is a circular vacuum with a coil around the outside. When energized, a huge spiral magnetic field is generated inside, heating the plasma to a very high temperature for nuclear fusion purposes.

“Nuclear fusion energy is clean and safe, but it still needs to be scientifically universal. Duan Xuru said, in the case of fusion reactor, combustion plasma is bound in a vacuum room, and contains low content of radon fuel in the fusion reactor, will not explode, will not lead to leakage, almost no radioactive contamination.

China’s nuclear power man who is bravee

The research of controlled fusion in China has been in sync with the international fusion research since the 1950s.

In 1965, according to the construction needs, China established the largest fusion research base at that time – Southwest Institute of Physics, that is, the nuclear group of the southwest physics research institute predecessor.

It is here that China’s first major scientific device in the field of nuclear fusion, the China Circulator One (HL-1) Tokamak device, was completed in 1984, becoming an important milestone in the history of nuclear fusion research in China. Its successful construction and operation has accumulated rich experience for China’s independent design, construction and operation of nuclear fusion experimental research devices, and has trained the first batch of nuclear fusion engineering technology and experimental operation personnel, which has laid a solid foundation for the development of higher parameters of magnetically constrained fusion scientific devices in China.

From then on, China’s magnetic constraint fusion step by step from scratch, from small to large. In 1995, China’s first superconducting Tokamak device HT-7 was built in Hefei, China built the first Tokamak device with a partial filter bit in 2002, China Circulation Unit No. 2 A (HL-2A), and in 2006, the world’s first fully superconducting Tokamak device East Superloop (EAST) plasma discharge was successful.

The “China Circulator II M” device, which is expected to be put into operation in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, this year, will become the largest and highest magnetically constrained controlled nuclear fusion experimental research device in China. It can increase the maximum plasma current of existing devices in China from 1 megaamin to 3 mam, and the ion temperature will reach more than 100 million degrees Celsius.

The common goal of mankind

Just as the sun benefits the whole earth, the development of the “artificial sun” will bring great benefits to mankind. But its technical challenges, research and development difficulties, so the need to gather global efforts to overcome.

Based on this, the International Thermonuclear Fusion Experimental Reactor (ITER) was launched in 2006 with the participation of China, the United States, the European Union, Russia, Japan, South Korea and India, with the participation of china, the United States, the European Union, Japan, South Korea and India, and plans to jointly build a power plant-sized fusion reactor in the Provence region of France, the world’s largest Tokamak plant. ITER is one of the largest and most far-reaching international scientific and technological cooperation projects in the world, which brings together the research results of the international fusion community over the years and the technical strength of the international fusion community.

“The project is also the largest international scientific and technological cooperation project in China with equal participation. Of these, China has taken on about 9% of the procurement package research and development tasks. Mr Duan said: “The signing of this plan is the hope of focusing on global scientific and technological efforts to jointly overcome the problem.” ”

“Over the years, the progress of magnetically constrained fusion research in China has benefited from participating in the ITER program. Duan Xuru said, using this good international cooperation platform, with the strong support of the relevant ministries of the country, China’s nuclear fusion research has achieved high-quality development, magnetically constrained nuclear fusion research from the past with running into the running stage, some technology has reached the international leading level.

China’s active participation has also contributed to the rapid development of the ITER program. Zhong Wurusaid said that since participating in the ITER program, China has been actively involved in construction and has taken on a number of core component research and development and manufacturing (procurement package) tasks. “At present, China’s ITER procurement package, whether in the research and development progress or the quality of completion, are in the forefront of 7 parties, for the construction of ITER contributed to China’s strength and wisdom. In the international fusion arena, China has a greater voice. ”

In addition to assuming the tasks promised by the Chinese side, China is also actively pursuing other key tasks of ITER. Last September, China Nuclear Group took the lead to win itER’s largest host assembly no. 1 contract to date. The project is the most important core device of the ITER device, the equivalent of the nuclear power plant reactor, the heart of the human body. This is the largest nuclear engineering contract ever won by a Chinese company in the European market.

“The installation of the most important part of the ITER project through international bidding proves that our team is the world’s leading company. Yu Jianfeng, chairman of China National Nuclear Group, said.

“In terms of the progress of the ITER program and the development process of international nuclear fusion, we are confident that we will achieve controlled nuclear fusion power generation by the middle of this century. “Duan Xu is full of confidence.