This 1200-tonne heavy equipment has just been transported by China to France to install an ‘Artificial Sun’.

Tram Ho

According to CGTN, the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has just transported a particularly important component for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project worth 21. billion dollars at Cadarache science research center, France.

Thiết bị nặng 1200 tấn này vừa được Trung Quốc vận chuyển tới Pháp để lắp đặt Mặt Trời nhân tạo - Ảnh 1.

Although the COVID-19 epidemic is complicated, transporting the cold storage unit must still follow the scheduled progress. (Screenshot)

Weighing up to 1200 tons, this unit is called a cold storage base, which serves as an important shield for the ITER-type Tokamak reactor.

According to CNNC, the refrigeration base must be transported on schedule so that the ITER project can start the furnace installation process. About 48 employees of CNNC are currently preparing to dismantle and install equipment in France. In September last year, CNNC signed a cooperation agreement with ITER project management.

“We are confident that we can complete the task in both quality and quantity,” said Li Quang, ITER project manager, who is also the deputy general manager of CNNC.

The most important and expensive project in the world, just behind the ISS space station

Assembled from 1 million large-sized components and about 10 million small components, the ITER kiln has a diameter and a height of about 30.5 m. Weighing 25,000 tons, this is also the world’s most thermonuclear reactor, which can generate plasma currents as hot as 150 million degrees Celsius. This temperature is even hotter than the core of the Sun.

Thiết bị nặng 1200 tấn này vừa được Trung Quốc vận chuyển tới Pháp để lắp đặt Mặt Trời nhân tạo - Ảnh 2.

ITER furnace is worth 21 billion USD, built under the cooperation of 30 countries

The ITER furnace is based on the principle of fusion, when two light hydrogen nuclei, deuterium and tritium, are combined to form a heavier helium nucleus and release energy. This is also the main process that creates the power of stars like the Sun.

In other words, the goal of building a thermonuclear reactor is comparable to “creating an artificial Sun on Earth and plugging the power cord into it for use,” says expert Jonathan Menard, who is currently working at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

However, in order for a thermonuclear reaction to take place, it needs a very high temperature, up to 120 million degrees Celsius, many times higher than the temperature at the core of the Sun. At this temperature, all matter exists in a plasma state.

This is also the basic construction goal of the ITER furnace, to create a plasma mixture with temperatures up to 150 million degrees Celsius – 10 times higher than the surface temperature of the Sun. To create this superheated temperature, ITER uses a toroidal magnetic chamber called Tokamak.

Thiết bị nặng 1200 tấn này vừa được Trung Quốc vận chuyển tới Pháp để lắp đặt Mặt Trời nhân tạo - Ảnh 3.

The cold base acts as a protective shield for the Tokamak-type reactor of the ITER project (Screenshot)

Accordingly, the fuel in the Tokamak chamber is heated to over 150 million degrees Celsius, forming extremely hot plasma. The scientists then use a strong magnetic field to remove the plasma from the safe shell.

According to the plan, the ITER furnace will be equipped with superconducting coils that create a magnetic field with a force of 100,000 times the magnetic field of the Earth. Besides, the scientists also designed a tank with a diameter of 6m to confine 840 cubic meters of plasma, equivalent to 1/3 of the volume of an Olympic-standard swimming pool.

Notably, despite the extremely high temperatures, the Tokamak-type reactor was unable to maintain a continuous plasma flow for a long time. To solve this problem, scientists have come up with an option called self-sustaining plasma. Specifically, when temperatures reach 150 million degrees Celsius, deuterium and tritium will be synthesized to create helium atoms, which will fly in the furnace and collide with the furnace wall to produce energy in the form of heat to ensure plasma can maintain such status on its own continuously.

Thiết bị nặng 1200 tấn này vừa được Trung Quốc vận chuyển tới Pháp để lắp đặt Mặt Trời nhân tạo - Ảnh 4.

Weighing 25,000 tons, this is also the most fusion reactor in the world, can create plasma streams hot to 150 million degrees C (Artwork)

It is known that the project of ITER furnace construction has contributed capital and technology of a total of 35 countries over the past 30 years. The European Union (EU), where ITER is located, contributes 45% of the total project investment.

It is expected that the nuclear fusion reactor of the project will be operational by 2025. Once completed, this nuclear fusion reactor will allow the world to research and experiment on plasma physics into production. generate electricity on a large scale from nuclear power plants.

If it is possible to produce energy as expected, this will be the first reactor of the fusion energy era, helping to narrow the gap from laboratory fusion research to generating fusion power for components. city. By 2030, humanity will be able to build its first thermonuclear power plant with a capacity of about 1GW.

See the report of CGTN on the activities of transporting equipment from China to France for ITER furnace installation.


Source: CGTN

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