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Artificial sun raises hopes

by Vijay Garg
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One of the established propositions about the solar system’s own sun, which we have known for centuries, is that if it were not there, there would be no life on Earth.  The tolerable heat from the sun and the moisture created by the water present on the earth created the atmosphere that led to the beginning of life on earth.  But today this sun of ours has also become an important means of fulfilling the needs of electricity.
On the basis of many arrangements of solar energy, the electricity needs of the world are being met to some extent in India as well.  These features have certainly made this natural sun useful, but it has some limitations.  If the clouds cover it for several days, then the power generation stops.  Also, this electricity is not produced in sufficient quantity to meet the current and future energy needs.  Perhaps this is the reason why efforts are being made in the world to get unlimited amount of energy by making arrangements like fake sun.
It was recently claimed that China managed to set a world record for achieving extremely high temperatures for one thousand and fifty-six seconds from its artificial Sun.  This simulated Sun, called the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (East), located in southwest China’s Sichuan province, is actually a type of nuclear construction, which works on nuclear fusion (fission) technology like the real Sun.  In May last year, heat of up to twelve crore degrees Celsius was produced for one hundred and one second.
This effort to generate energy from nuclear fusion technology like the real Sun, using hydrogen and deuterium gases as fuel, is being seen as a big hope.  It is being said that in the coming times, when the traditional means of generating electricity will be lost or it will not be possible to meet the growing needs with these means, in such a situation, this fake sun will help in keeping the earth lit.
Not only this, this technology, which does not generate any kind of waste including zero radioactive waste, will also offer solutions to all problems including global temperature.  So far, the work of generating one million ampere current from this nuclear plant for one thousand seconds and a temperature of 100 million degree Celsius has been done in three different phases.  Now the next goal is to carry out all these three processes simultaneously.
China expects to start building a fusion reactor that produces massive amounts of energy from tokamak five years from now.  Its construction will take ten years.  After this, electricity generation will start by the year 2040.  For the first time in the year 2006, the work of creating a fake sun that gives ten times more heat than the real sun on the earth was started.
In this case, China is not the only country that is working on making energy from the fake sun.  The development of reactors powered by nuclear fusion technology was started in America.  Its purpose was to build safe nuclear reactors that would not generate any nuclear waste that would be difficult to dispose of.
Special progress in this direction was made when in the year 2006, Russia, Japan, USA, China, South Korea, European Union and India together agreed on a project called International Thermonuclear Experiment Reactor (ITER).  The project is to build a nuclear reactor powered by fusion technology.  The construction of ITER was started in 2013 in Karahash, France.
It is the largest fusion research project in the world.  In this, India was entrusted with the responsibility of manufacturing the largest, heavy and important equipment of the reactor.  India has manufactured ‘Crostat’ for ITER.  It is also being called the heart of the reactor.  The cryostat is a cylinder-shaped device that controls the temperature of the reactor.  Apart from this, the development work of another reactor system (Vacuum Vessel System) is also being done in India.  This reactor is expected to be ready by 2025.
It is important to understand how energy will be obtained from fusion and how it is different from the current process of nuclear energy fission.  Basically, nuclear energy comes in two ways – one, by nuclear fission and the other, by nuclear fusion.  So far the world has been able to generate nuclear energy only through nuclear fission.  The energy from nuclear fission has its own problems.  This generates large amounts of nuclear waste, which is difficult and dangerous to dispose of.
In such a situation, that nuclear fusion has been seen with new hope, due to which our sun and other stars are illuminated.  In the process of nuclear fusion, two or more nuclei collide to form a heavier nucleus.  This is in contrast to nuclear fission in which heavier elements break down and become lighter.  Both processes produce huge amounts of energy.  However, nuclear fusion can give unlimited energy compared to fission.  It also does not pose the risk of nuclear pollution.  But the question is why the world has not moved in this direction so far.
The answer is that nuclear fusion is very difficult to control.  The process of nuclear fusion requires extremely high temperatures, which is a different problem to control.  It’s just like making a real Sun on Earth.  Researchers at Princeton University have discovered an effective and practical way to control the fusion process.
He did this by getting the atoms into a state of plasma for nuclear fusion.  By doing this the plasma takes the shape of a bubble or magnetic island, where unlimited energy is released.  This is where the risk of the process of fusion going unchecked arises.  Researchers tried to control the nuclear reaction with radio signals, that is, to control the magnetic island, which was successful.
The process of fusion has some other advantages.  It does not emit greenhouse gases, so it is safe for the environment.  All the nuclear reactors in the world today generate electricity by the first method i.e. fission.  There is always a risk of nuclear accident from such reactors.  The disasters caused by the tsunami in Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986 and the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan in March 2011 are prime examples.  The nuclear waste generated from such reactors continues to emit toxic radiation for hundreds of years.  Even today, no country in the world has any system for such permanent disposal of nuclear waste.
Apart from this, there is also a danger of the technology being adopted in these nuclear power stations being stolen and falling into the hands of terrorists.  The uranium that is used to generate energy in these reactors is the same used in nuclear weapons.  This risk is virtually eliminated in the case of fusion reactors and their fuels.

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