Chinese experimental nuclear fusion reactor contained a 50 million degree plasma for 102 seconds

Researchers at the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) said they were able to heat the gas to nearly three times the temperature at the core of the Sun, and keep it there for 102 seconds.

The goal of the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak was to reach 100 million Kelvins for over 1,000 seconds (nearly 17 minutes). It would still take years to build a commercially viable plant that could operate in a stable manner for several decades.

The reactor, officially known as the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), was able to heat a hydrogen gas – a hot ionised gas called a plasma – to about 50 million Kelvins (49.999 million degrees Celsius). The interior of our sun is calculated to be around 15 million Kelvins.

Most of the tokomak devices built over the last 60 years have not been able to sustain for more than 20 seconds.

The team claimed to have solved a number of scientific and engineering problems, such as precisely controlling the alignment of the magnet, and managing to capture the high-energy particles and heat escaping from the “doughnut”.

A team at the Max Planck Institute in Greifswald, Germany was able to heat hydrogen to even more intense temperatures — up to 100 million degrees C — but for much shorter periods of time. The German government has dedicated more than £1 billion to the search for nuclear fusion