Chinese tokamak makes fusion happen – for more than a minute.

Wired reports on the successful ignition of a fire three times hotter than the sun:

The march to sustainable nuclear fusion appears to have made serious progress, after a Chinese research group said it sustained a superheated plasma gas at 49.99 million degrees C for more than a minute.

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 experiment involved using a ring-shaped reactor at the Institute of Physical Science in Hefei, China, to heat up and control hydrogen gas to extreme temperatures, and hold it in place away from the walls of the ring using high-powered magnets.

Doing this is extremely difficult, and previous experiments have only managed to do so for less than a minute, at most.

According to the South China Morning Post, the Chinese team at EAST said their new record was still below their own targets, which is to sustain a temperature of around 100 million degrees C for 1,000 seconds.