China has completed work on a key component of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), also known as the world’s largest “artificial sun”.
ITER is an international nuclear fusion mega project in France. It is an unprecedented international cooperation of 35 countries, including the United States, China, 27 countries of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Russia. It is hoped that the reactor will be able to produce clean energy using the same process that fuels the sun.
To do this, researchers are trying to harness nuclear fusion – the process that takes place in the centers of stars. The process involves the fusion of two lighter atomic nuclei to form heavier ones, releasing an enormous amount of energy. According to News Weekthe main goal of this project is to demonstrate that it can produce significantly more energy than the energy supplied to start the reaction process, resulting in power gains.
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Europe is responsible for the majority of construction costs – about 45 percent – with the remaining countries contributing about 9 percent each. Countries also contribute to the ITER project by providing completed components, systems or infrastructure.
Now, on Tuesday, Chinese state media announced that production of a full-scale prototype of a component known as a first-wall (FW) enhanced-heat-flux (EHF) panel had been completed, while the main indicators met the design requirements. From Global times, the full-scale prototype of the EHF FW was developed by the Southwestern Institute of Physics, which is affiliated with the state-run China National Nuclear Corporation.
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The ITER’s first wall panel will come into direct contact with plasma as hot as 100 million degrees Celsius, making it a critical component of the reactor. According to scientists, each of the 440 plasma-facing first wall panels of the ITER blanket measures 1 x 1.5 meters.
“In this space we will have a machine at the heart of which will burn a little sun, to put it very simply. This little sun will generate energy. We will use that energy to generate electricity,” said ITER spokesperson Robert. Arnoux. AFP.
China’s technology to produce the first wall panel has become the first to pass international certification. From News Weekthe $22 billion project is predicted to be commissioned in 2025.
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