HL-2M Tokamak reactor

2020 DEC 7

Preliminary   > Science and Technology   >   Energy   >   Nuclear

Why in news?

  • China successfully powered up its “artificial sun” nuclear fusion reactor for the first time.

About the Tokamak:

  • The HL-2M Tokamak reactor is China’s largest and most advanced nuclear fusion experimental research device, and scientists hope that the device can potentially unlock a powerful clean energy source.
  • It uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma and can reach temperatures of over 150 million degrees Celsius, approximately ten times hotter than the core of the sun.
  • Located in Sichuan province and completed late last year, the reactor is often called an “artificial sun” on account of the enormous heat and power it produces.

About Tokamaks:

  • Tokamak is a device used in nuclear-fusion research for magnetic confinement of plasma.
  • It consists of a complex system of magnetic fields that confine the plasma of reactive charged particles in a hollow, doughnut-shaped container.
  • The tokamak concept (an acronym from the Russian words for toroidal magnetic confinement) was developed in the mid-1960s by Soviet plasma physicists.
  • It produces the highest plasma temperatures, densities, and confinement durations of any confinement device.

About Nuclear Fusion as a power source:

  • Fusion power is a proposed form of power generation that would generate electricity by using heat from nuclear fusion reactions.
  • In a fusion process, two lighter atomic nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus, while releasing energy. Devices designed to harness this energy are known as fusion reactors.
  • Fusion processes require fuel and a confined environment with sufficient temperature, pressure, and confinement time to create a plasma in which fusion can occur.
  • As a source of power, nuclear fusion is expected to have many advantages over fission including reduced radioactivity in operation and little high-level nuclear waste, ample fuel supplies, and increased safety.
  • However, the necessary combination of temperature, pressure, and duration has proven to be difficult to produce in a practical and economical manner.


In which of the following countries is the ITER tokamak complex, an international research project located?

 Answer to prelims question