China recently turned on a huge nuclear fusion device patterned after the process that takes place inside the sun. The device generates ten times the heat of the sun and the scientists hope to double that within the next few years.
Fusion: The Opposite of Nuclear Fission But More
On Friday, China powered up the HL-2M tokamak, a huge device that uses a powerful magnetic field to confine hot plasma in the shape of a torus in the hopes of generating power using nuclear fusion. “Tokamak” is a shortening of the Russian term for “toroidal magnetic confinement.”
“The development of nuclear fusion energy is not only a way to solve China’s strategic energy needs, but also has great significance for the future sustainable development of China’s energy and national economy,” said the People’s Daily.
Fusion fuses atomic nuclei to create massive amounts of energy, the opposite of the fission process used in atomic weapons and nuclear power plants, which splits them into fragments. Fusion does not create radioactive waste and carries less risk of accidents or the theft of atomic material.
The fusion process requires vast amounts of energy and no fusion reactor has achieved net-positive energy but the scientists believe that the process will begin to produce energy at higher temperatures.
Using a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma, the apparatus is able to operate at 270 million Fahrenheit, a temperature 10 times hotter than the sun which produces energy using hydrogen and deuterium gases as fuels, a process called stellar nucleosynthesis.
Yang Qingwei, chief engineer of CNNC’s Institute of Fusion Science at the Southwest Institute of Physics which oversees the project, was quoted by Xinhua on Friday as saying that HL-2M can achieve magnetic plasma confinement time of up to 10 seconds.
“HL-2M is China’s largest artificial sun with the best parameters,” Xu Min, director of the institute, was quoted as saying.
The HL-2M tokamak has three times the plasma volume and six times the plasma current intensity compared with China’s previous facility. The HL-2M tokamak has been iterated since 2006 and in 2018, the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reached a milestone 180 million degrees. In 2019, EAST announced they intended to double that by 202o. The deadline has passed and that goal has not been achieved but the project is considered a success nonetheless.
One of the major obstacles to acheiving nuclear fusion is controlling the high-energy plasma which must be maintained at a temperature far greater than any material on earth can contain requiring containment in a magnetic field.
China announced plans to build an experimental reactor as early as next year, an industrial prototype by 2035, and go into large-scale commercial use by 2050.
Science Declaring War on the Creator
As scientists strive for greater achievements, the implications of overreach and mistakes become greater. This self-realization of scientific hubris was perhaps best expressed by Robert Oppenheimer, frequently described as the “father of the atomic bomb, upon witnessing the first detonation of a nuclear weapon on July 16, 1945. After seeing first-hand the horrific destructive power of his own work, Oppenheimer quoted the Bhagavad-Gita, a Hindu text, declaring, “ “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”.
Rabbi Yosef Berger warned that such experiments could bring about disastrous results the scientists had not anticipated but which the Biblical prophets had foreseen. The rabbi cited the Prophet Isaiah, who described a light seven times greater than the sun which would appear in the end-of-days with disastrous results.
And the light of the moon shall become like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall become sevenfold, like the light of the seven days, when Hashem binds up His people’s wounds and heals the injuries it has suffered. Behold Hashem Himself Comes from afar In blazing wrath, With a heavy burden— His lips full of fury, His tongue like devouring fire Isaiah 30:26-27
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“They call this science, presenting it as being for the good of mankind, but as we saw with the atomic bomb, they are really setting out to make war against God, to prove that Man is stronger than Creation,” Rabbi Berger said. “This is precisely the sin of the generation that built the Tower of Babel.”
“They think that their sun is stronger than the sun of God. But the proof is that their sun cannot work for even one moment but God created the sun and it has stood since creation, providing warmth to all the world. And what powers the sun? Hashem (God; literally, the name). This is something that the scientists are not even close to replicating. Their thinking is entirely wrong. But if they turned to God, worked from a perspective of coming close to the creator, they would achieve so much more.”
Rabbi Berger cited Psalms as a source for learning from the actual stars and heavens.
The heavens declare the glory of Hashem, the sky proclaims His handiwork. Psalms 19:2
“If the scientists would set their eyes to the heaven rather than trying to be greater than the Creator, they would achieve so much more, and would do so without releasing destruction into the world,” Rabbi Berger concluded.