China switches on nuclear-powered ‘artificial sun’

China has turned on its nuclear fusion reactor – which hopes to replicate the sun’s heat and energy – for the first time.[1]

The reactor has been designed to use a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma at temperatures of 150 million C – more than 10 times hotter than the sun’s core.

The Chinese-built HL-2M Tokamak nuclear fusion reactor aims to replicate the energy of the sun. (Getty)

Based in Chengdu, Sichuan province, the reactor was finished last year after Chinese scientists started developing it in 2006.

The new reactor will also support to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), the world’s largest reactor being built in France, state media reports.

China, five other countries and the European Union, are involved in the project.

Nuclear fusion is the same process that powers the sun, and it’s what scientists are trying to imitate to create a power source on Earth that could one day replace fossil fuels entirely, offering limitless and clean energy.[2]
Nuclear fusion promises to produce temperatures of 150 million C – more than 10 times hotter than the sun’s core. (AAP)

The reactors aim to replicate the science of stars by merging atomic nuclei, releasing huge amounts of energy which can be regulated and ultimately converted to electricity.

But developing fusion is extremely expensive. Cost of the ITER project are estimated to be from A$30 billion to A$88 billion, making it the world’s most costly scientific project.


  1. ^ the sun’s heat (
  2. ^ same process that powers the sun (

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