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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 16 September, 2022

  • 9 Min Read

Artificial Sun

Artificial Sun

In recent years, South Korean scientists have developed an "artificial sun" in an effort to produce endless clean energy.

Details about the news

  • In their quest for clean nuclear energy, researchers from Seoul National University and the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy have made a significant advancement by building an "artificial sun" at the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) reactor.
  • According to reports, the reactor experienced 30 seconds of temperatures up to 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • In contrast, the sun's core reaches temperatures of about 15 million degrees.

Earlier attempts

  • Since 2006, Chinese researchers have been striving to create scaled-down versions of the nuclear fusion reactor.
  • The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) fusion energy reactor recently produced an artificial sun that was five times hotter than the sun for 1,056 seconds while operating at temperatures of 70 million degrees Celsius.

Significance

Electricity safety

  • Scientists hope that by simulating the sun's natural reaction, their technology could allow people to harness massive amounts of energy and combat the world's energy shortage.

Greener Energy

  • It is important to remember that our sun is powered by nuclear fusion, which is regarded as the ultimate source of energy.
  • Unlike the fission process employed in nuclear power plants and weapons, which breaks atomic nuclei into fragments, it joins atomic nuclei to produce enormous amounts of energy.
  • Contrary to the nuclear fission process that drives the creation of commercial nuclear energy, the procedure uses no fossil fuels and produces no hazardous waste.
  • Fusion produces no greenhouse emissions, in contrast to fission.

Less Risk of Disaster:

According to physicists, there is a much lower chance of a natural disaster.

Challenges

  • maintaining a temperature of one billion degrees.
  • operating for a long time at a constant level.
  • Despite decades of research into the technique, nuclear fusion is still a long way from being realized outside of a lab.

China’s artificial Sun-EAST

  • China created and designed the nuclear fusion reactor plant.
  • Because it replicates the nuclear fusion reaction, which uses hydrogen and deuterium gases as fuel to power the real sun, the facility is known as a "artificial sun."
  • Since 2006, researchers from all around the world have used the EAST to carry out fusion-related studies.
  • The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) facility, which will become operational in 2035 and become the largest nuclear fusion reactor in the world, includes the EAST project.
  • The goal is to imitate nuclear fusion, the reaction that gives the sun its power.
  • In order to boil hydrogen isotopes into a plasma, fuse them together, and release energy, the EAST uses extremely high temperatures.
  • Over 150 million degrees Celsius are used to heat the fuel, causing it to condense into a hot plasma "soup" of subatomic particles.
  • The plasma is kept away from the reactor walls with the use of a strong magnetic field to prevent cooling and the loss of the plasma's ability to produce significant amounts of energy.
  • Deuterium and tritium, both of which are contained in hydrogen, combine to form the helium nucleus, which also yields a neutron and a tremendous amount of energy.

Nuclear Fission

  • Nuclei are torn apart through a process called nuclear fission (usually large nuclei).
  • High-speed neutrons and the substance's critical mass are needed.
  • In a fission reaction, splitting two atoms uses very little energy.
  • In nature, fission reactions are uncommon.
  • Many highly radioactive particles are created during fission.
  • The energy released during nuclear fusion is higher than the energy released during chemical reactions by a factor of a million.
  • A fission bomb commonly referred to as an atomic bomb or atom bomb, is one type of nuclear weapon.
  • A large nucleus will divide into gamma rays, free neutrons, and other subatomic particles by nuclear fission.
  • 235U and a neutron are typically involved in nuclear reactions.

Nuclear Fusion

  • It is a process in which lighter atoms come together to generate heavier atoms, releasing energy in the process.
  • The Sun and other stars are propelled by this process, which causes them to produce heat and light.

Process:

  • Helium is created when the atoms of Deuterium (H-2) and Tritium (H-3) mix (He-4). As a result, a free and quick neutron is also released.
  • The kinetic energy of the 'excess' mass left over after the fusion of the lighter deuterium and tritium nuclei powers the neutron.

Way Forward

Even while these are important advancements, there is still a long way to go before the world can witness an artificial sun that is completely operational

Also, Read - India and Mexico Relations

Source: The Indian Express


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