'Science city' sees green future become a reality

By Zhu Lixin | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-05 09:19
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Scientists work in the control room of China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak, or "artificial sun", in Hefei, Anhui province, on April 12.HUANG BOHAN/XINHUA

A center of innovation in East China is producing world-leading technological breakthroughs. Zhu Lixin reports in Hefei.

Earlier this year, China's "artificial sun", an experimental device designed to harness the energy of nuclear fusion, achieved a major technological breakthrough that laid a solid foundation toward the operation of a fusion reactor.

"The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak — aka EAST, or the 'artificial sun' — aims to unlock the secret behind nuclear fusion; the same mechanism that powers the sun," said Hu Jiahui, an engineer with the Institute of Plasma Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The instrument, located at "Science Island", a complex in Hefei, capital of the eastern province of Anhui, has set numerous world records in nuclear fusion technology.

The giant machine simulates the conditions for nuclear fusion in the sun by creating ultra-high-temperature plasma, the most abundant form of ordinary matter in the universe. "The plasma temperature of the machine can reach 160 million C. By contrast, the core temperature of the sun is about 15 million C," Hu said.

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