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이름 or 단체명

Steven Lee

출신 학교

Nepean High School

SDGs 그룹

[Group 3] 7. 에너지 8. 일자리와 경제 성장 9. 혁신과 인프라

포럼 주제/소주제

Artificial Sun / The new revolutionary energy source

초록

SDGs : Energy

Artificial Sun, also known as the tokamak is the new, revolutionary energy source that is very efficient and safe. Artificial Sun is the future of our energy, that will make the earth healthy.  -
Fossil fuels are running out on earth, yet 81% of the worldwide population is using fossil fuel as their main source of energy. This is not a sustainable source of energy to power the earth. As a result, scientists have been developing devices that could collect energy from wind, sun, and water. These are sustainable and safe ways of collecting energy but they have low efficiency. Therefore, scientists have come up with the innovative idea of creating an artificial sun, ITER—powered by nuclear fusion—to make clean, safe, sustainable, and most importantly, efficient energy.

ITER is on track to be the world’s largest artificial sun, a project in which seven major countries jointly construct and operate a large-scale superconducting nuclear fusion laboratory to explore a safe and sustainable new mode of harnessing energy. Artificial suns that already exist can be seen as prototypes for ITER because ITER is a device that both creates ultra-high fusion plasma and has the ability to test whether or not this can be used to make electricity. ITER is currently built in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance, which is located in southern France. The major parts of ITER are produced in different countries, and are shipped to France. It is defined as one of the world’s biggest artificial suns because the main parts of ITER can weigh between 500 and 5000 tonnes. To move the gigantic parts, they use ships and the components usually enter France through the Marseilles Fos port. There, they have an exclusive road that stretches 104km for ITER. Scientists started to design ITER in 2007, finished the design in July of 2008, and all the parts for building have arrived in France in June 2020. Their goal is to finish building it by 2025 and be able to prove sustainable energy production in the 2040’s.

ITER, the project to make the biggest artificial sun, is based off of a device called an experimental superconducting HL-2M Tokamak. The Tokamak began its construction in 2006, and was just recently tested on December 4th, 2020. It is considered the world’s first fusion reactor. The Tokamak aims to provide a sustainable and reliable man-made source of energy in a time where the world’s natural resources are being depleted. The Tokamak runs by the same principle underlying solar energy. It uses powerful magnetic fields directed at a confined plasma core in the shape of a torus to safely move and direct particles. The magnetic fields are generated by a series of coiled structures that surround the torus core. The first magnetic field is called the poloidal field created by the outer pollodial coils and the second magnetic field is called toroidal which is created by the toroidal field coils. The science behind the Tokamak is based on the principle of nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion occurs when two or more atomic nuclei are bombarded with enough energy that they combine to form other atomic nuclei and subatomic particles. This process naturally occurs in the core of the sun where the gravitational pull of the sun causes hydrogen gas to be under high pressure. The result is nuclear fusion, where four hydrogen nuclei combine to form helium as energy is released in the form of light. The Tokamak takes advantage of oppositely charged electrons travelling at extremely high velocities within the fusion plasma at very high temperatures. The magnetic field imparted by the coiled structures confine the plasma particles to the torus, while several auxiliary heating methods increase the plasma particles under conditions that permit fusion to occur, similar to the natural sun. To achieve a similar reaction to solar fusion on Earth, these specific conditions must be achieved. There must first be extremely high temperatures that allow high-velocity collisions to occur. Since there is not enough pressure here on Earth to facilitate nuclear fusion, scientists compensate for this by increasing the temperature at the site of activity. This is why the core torus contains extremely hot plasma that can reach temperatures as high as 150 million centigrades. Then, there must be enough plasma particle density, which is a necessary condition to increase the probability for these collisions to occur, and there must be a Finally, specific confinement time of the plasma within a defined volume, which will keep the plasma in place and prevent it from expanding. With these conditions, electrons separate from the nuclei and transform it into plasma - an ionized state of matter resembling gas. The plasma contains charged particles (positive nuclei and negative electrons) which allow for an environment where particles of light can fuse and provide energy. The structure surrounding the torus is designed to absorb the uncharged neutrons from the fusion plasma and transfer the kinetic energy into heat.  As with conventional energy power plants, the heat is used to produce steam and eventually electrical energy by generators and turbines.

The artificial sun has a lot of advantages and it is revolutionary for many different reasons.  Burning fossil fuels are extremely toxic because they contribute to the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, namely to the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the past half century. Conversely, the artificial sun is carbon-free, meaning it does not rely on the production of greenhouse gases as a byproduct of its reaction. Additionally, current nuclear energy resources rely on the splitting of atoms, and this generates nuclear wastes. Moreover, solar panels are not efficient on cloudy days since they have to absorb sunlight in order to produce energy. Also they have a really low energy efficiency because they are made in a way that it loses a lot of energy when changing light energy to the energy that we can use.  The Artificial sun could produce the same amount of energy with a glass of sea water as a barrel of oil. The artificial sun uses lithium, and helium-2 as it’s fuel, which it could be easily found in sea water. This makes artificial sun a great source of energy since seawater is plentiful and a renewable source of energy. With the nuclear plants, if the fuel is in, we have to wait until it all burns out. So if not monitored carefully, accidents like the Fukushima nuclear disaster. With the artificial sun, it is very safe because we are the ones that put in the fuel, so if something happens we can just shut it off right away.  Also nuclear plants, which split atoms, make nuclear waste as a by-product that is very dangerous. The by-product of artificial sun is water and helium, therefore it’s much more safe. Thus, though the artificial sun is very expensive to make and it is uncertain that it could produce energy properly, countries are cooperating to create it because it is a safe, long lasting, and eco-friendly source of energy.

Although the energy potential of the tokamak is incomparable to any other energy sources that we use, there are still many challenges facing this technology. Perhaps the most evident challenge with the tokamak is how expensive  it is and how much funding is required for its ongoing research and construction. Another major challenge is ensuring that all the tokamaks pass safety tests, especially as the technology continues to grow and becomes even stronger. The tokamak generates large amounts of energy, and although the walls of the tokamak are designed to absorb the energy and convert it into heat, extra safety precautions must be ensured to prevent accidents and protect people from danger. Along with the incredible amount of energy that the tokamak produces, it is all converted into heat. In fact, the plasma can reach temperatures of up to 150 million centigrades. This heat has the ability to damage the surrounding infrastructure. Similarly the high-velocity plasma particles can cause damage to surrounding buildings as well as human tissue if not properly contained. These safety precautions are crucial considerations to take since the tokamak is an extremely high-energy technology. Apart from the safety aspect of the tokamak, there are also some technological challenges that scientists and physicists are still attempting to resolve. Although the tokamak is generally regarded as waste-free, this isn’t necessarily true. Streams of energetic neutrons will bombard the walls of the tokamak from which 98% will end up being radioactive waste. The remaining 2% will actually be intercepted for testing of tritium production in lithium.

The HL-2M Tokamak began its construction in 2006, and by 2020 has been officially tested and activated its completed nuclear fusion reactor. China projected plans that include establishing commercial production of fusion energy by the year 2050, while ITER aims to finish their project by 2025. This will have an enormous impact on China’s energy and national economy. Its impact will reach the rest of the world as well because the artificial sun is predicted to lead the global demand for sustainable energy and clean development. Improvements needed for the optimization and safety of the device, as well as the numerous tests will prove to be quite costly and risky in the next several years before the artificial sun becomes commercially available. One issue in particular with the Tokamak is the general instability that comes with the confinement of plasma. The plasma can face ‘disruptions’ caused by the plasma that undergoes displacement and general instability. Plasma instability is an issue that is being addressed by careful design of the Tokamak, and will prove to be a challenge in the upcoming year as the design for the Tokamak is perfected. Another issue going forward inherent in nuclear fusion reaction is the issue of overheating, particularly in this case, plasma overheating. Scientists are working on solutions to manage the plasma heat by controlling the supply of electrical pulses supplied to the electrical conductor—the plasma. However, there are limitations to the pulses and so the Tokamak can only operate for short periods of time, or scientists must find another way of heating and current drive.  The artificial sun has an exciting future in renewable energy, but until then there are still several areas of improvement.

The tokamak harnesses the power of natural fusion and by using powerful magnetic fields to confine hot plasma in a torus. This technology generates large amounts of heat which is used to produce steam and eventually electricity. The artificial sun holds promise for a more sustainable and green future. As natural resources are being depleted and climate change drastically changes the face of the Earth, a greener solution is urgently needed—and the artificial sun optimistically offers that.

포럼발표
  • jharli
    정현지
    2021년 3월 21일 at 10:36 오후

    Hello, we are Hyunji Jung and Yewon Chang from Seoul Global High School. We were satisfied by the interesting information about the artificial sun! While reading your paper, a question popped out of our minds.
    1. What distinguishes the artificial sun from other existing renewable energy generators?
    2. Why should we build such a device that requires high R&D costs instead of elaborating more on the existing generator?
    3. After a simple research, we found out that the tokamak has many disadvantages. According to Physics Today, there are significant disadvantages in high-field tokamaks. One is that the artificial sun increases pressure on field coils. Another is that as the tokamaks are shrunk, the loading of the neutron wall increases. For instance, SPARC, which is a tokamak being developed by CFS, is, despite being a comparatively small device, has “around 2.5 times ITER’s wall loading of about MW/m^2.” In this aspect, we would like to ask if there is any significance in developing the artificial sun as there are many downsides to the device.

    • slee25
      Steven Lee
      2021년 3월 27일 at 3:56 오후

      The main reason that scientist are trying to make artificial sun is because it is basically a mortal source of energy that produces almost no waste. This is a huge advantage compared to the existing generators because all the main sources of energy that we currently use, makes huge amounts of wastes, destroying our planet. So if artificial sun could be made and used public-ally, the cost won’t matter because it would gives us healthy nature back. I know that tokamak has many disadvantages; like you said there’s problems with field coils, size, and others. In spite of the disadvantages, it is significant to develop artificial sun because they are the closest eco-free energy source that could replace primary energy source that we use right now. Also scientists are using Tokamak as a primary module because it is the most safe/effective module that has been created. Other modules could have better results, smaller size but the consequences of failure is too big. So scientist are using tokamak first as a prototype, and if success, the next thing to worry about is size and power.

  • 그레이스
    노지명
    2021년 3월 24일 at 4:21 오전

    Thank you for your presentation and report! I definitely found your topic on ITER interesting since environmental sustainability and protection have never been more important. A few questions popped up in my mind that I would like to ask.
    1. It is stated in the report that the Tokamak produces energetic neutrons of which 98% become radioactive waste. If the artifical sun ITER produces large quatities of nuclear waste which is similar to nuclear power, can ITER be considered sustainable and environmentally-friendly?
    2. Are there any possible arrangements or solutions for the radioactive waste generated by ITER?

    • slee25
      Steven Lee
      2021년 3월 27일 at 4:09 오후

      First of all I wanted to say that ITER does not produce large qualities of nuclear waste. They do generate a radioactive waste called Tritium but it’s half time is only 12.3 year, witch is way better than nuclear wastes that we produce right now, such as Plutonium-239 that has a half time of 24,000 years. This means that Tritium will loose it’s radio-activeness around 25 years. Adding on, the amount of Tritium made during a single operation is only few grams, way better than nuclear plants that makes 25 to 30 tons of nuclear wastes in a single operation.

  • 민지은
    민지은
    2021년 3월 24일 at 4:36 오전

    Hi, I am Min Jieun from team TAT. I am honored to listen to the presentation about the artificial sun. I was impressed and surprised with the information about the artificial sun that I never knew. I have a few questions about the topic.
    1. Is there some disadvantages and limitations to Tokamak? When using it or when they are made.
    2. In your opinion do you think there is a reason why our society does not use the artificial sun in our daily life?

    • slee25
      Steven Lee
      2021년 3월 27일 at 2:55 오후

      1. Tokamak certainly do have some disadvantages, since it is a prototype. Tokamak is currently the best model out but, because of the it’s structural limit, it is hard to sustainably contain high pressured plasma for a long time. Adding on, when the tokamak is activated, the pressure inside the tokamak becomes very high compared to the outside of the structure. This will send electric current move towards outside of the structure, making plasma unstable.

      2. I think that the main reason why we don’t use artificial sun in our daily lives because it is simply considered unsafe. The sun itself is not yet tested out to make electricity that we use and the prototype is not yet been made or tested.

  • aofgod
    정연우
    2021년 3월 24일 at 10:39 오후

    Hello, I’m Yeonwoo Chung from Avon Old Farms School. Thank you so much for your presentation!
    Can you explain elaborately about the future prospect of ITER?

    • slee25
      Steven Lee
      2021년 3월 26일 at 3:58 오후

      The main future prospect of ITER is to make common use electricity. The world right now is suffering from global warming/pollution, mainly because of the production of energy and the use of energy. ITER is graded to solve pollution made by the production of energy, since it does not give almost any harm to the environment and is almost a mortal energy source.

  • juice
    김태환
    2021년 3월 25일 at 5:44 오후

    Hello
    First, I’d like to begin by saying I enjoyed your report and presentation video. As a person who is also fascinated by nuclear fusion reactors, I found myself agreeing with many of the points you made. That said, I have a few inquiries.
    In this report, you focused mainly on the tokamaks. However, there are other designs of nuclear fusion reactors such as the stellarator. How does the tokamak performed compared to the stellarator in terms of energy consumption, energy output, and ease of manufacture?
    Further, one of the biggest concerns in nuclear fusion reactors is the heat blanket. Heat blankets breed tritium, and contain and dispose of any byproducts of the fusion reactions such as alpha particles or energized neutrons. There are multiple designs out there being tested, and in your opinion, which blanket would be most effective in breeding tritium, absorbing heat, reducing wastes, and generally enhance the performance of nuclear reactors?
    Thank you
    Tae Hwan Kim of STICKS, Ivy Collegiate School.

    • slee25
      Steven Lee
      2021년 3월 26일 at 2:22 오후

      1. In my opinion, Tokamak performs better than stellarator because of the friction that the model makes. As an example, stellarator is shaped like a spiral shape because the scientist that made it thought, since we have to make the plasma move in a spiral shape, let’s make reactor into a serial shape. This would still do the job, but the natural shape of it will increase the touching surface, increasing the friction. Witch will lower the temperature. Yet, with the tokamak, the plasma is form in mid air, lowering the touching surface to minimum. Increasing the maximum temperature.
      2.With the heat blanket, I think that the one ITER is currently have made is the best heat blanket out right now. Since, professional scientist around the world have made/planned it and it is considered as one of the safest blanket. Also I can trust this the best because, the blanket itself is made with multiple wall panels and the shield itself is also made out of multiple parts, making it so that there is less reaction as possible.

  • 나나미
    나카이 나나미
    2021년 3월 26일 at 10:22 오후

    Hello, We are Keonguk student council team 2 .Thank you for your amazing presentation.
    We have got two questions.
    How would you manage to the critics such as; it’s costly to implement, and scientists’ knowledge is not enough to secure the safety at this time.
    Thank you.

    • slee25
      Steven Lee
      2021년 3월 27일 at 4:37 오후

      The cost will not affect the management of ITER since this is a project that multiple countries are putting billions of dollars in. Also with the insecure safety because of scientists’ lack of knowledge is not true. Since this is a big, major project, scientists are considering almost every scenario that exist to secure safety. This means that the experiment is safe, and still as the project goes on, they are still checking for safety.

  • 냥~
    조성원
    2021년 3월 28일 at 11:31 오전

    Hello, thank you for your presentation and report. I am Sung won Cho from group 2.

    It might be off the track, but I was curious about the side effects after the artificial sun is built. The artificial sun is a mortal source of energy that produces almost no waste. Its biggest disadvantage is the highs cost which doesn’t really matter after it is built. So, after the creation of the artificial sun, aside from a few of the countries involved in the planning, wouldn’t there be a huge gap among other countries, especially the developing countries. Also, since rich countries have invested billions of dollars, would they not try to extract the money they have invested by putting taxes and selling them expensively? It isn’t there a possibility for the society turn into a monopolizes society and accelerate the gap between the rich and the poor in the world, and benefits only high-ranking government officials and countries that monopolize the artificial sun? I want to hear your thoughts about it.

    • slee25
      Steven Lee
      2021년 3월 28일 at 3:31 오후

      My personal opinion about artificial sun making a huge gap between poor and rich is that, internationally they should make a law about it so that every country and everyone could access it in a fairly easy way. Since the biggest project ITER is an international project, this should stay as international. I know that only few countries are working on it, but the only reason that they are is because they have been proven to be the best at their parts, in making ITER.

  • huh?
    허서윤
    2021년 3월 28일 at 5:07 오후

    Wow! I have never heard of such a thing. It seems like the artificial sun you have mentioned would bring great sustainability in future prospects, as well as saving the environment.
    A few questions, though.
    1. It seems like Tokamak would take quite a bit of time to solve its disadvantages, pass the safety test, and finally, being built around the world. In the meantime, the US alone consumed 18.12 million barrels of petroleum per day. How would you complement the time in between?
    2. The cost of the artificial sun is $30 billion to $80 billion. I’m a bit concerned because one, it may be way to expensive to be supplied worldwide, and two, it may worsen economic inequality. How would you solve this problem while developing technology?

    • slee25
      Steven Lee
      2021년 3월 29일 at 5:28 오전

      1. I know that for artificial sun to be built around the world would take a long time. I want to say that artificial sun is not the only project that the world is working on. Scientists from different countries are researching about other eco-friendly energy such as, wind turbines, solar panels, and geothermal power plants. Excluding what I’ve given, there are way more projects going on, and some of them are already spread through out the world.

      2. The cost of the artificial sun is very expensive, and including me, the whole world knows it. The reason why it is so expensive is because artificial sun itself is currently a prototype. Project ITER, the main project, has a main purpose of making artificial sun but they also researching about how to make artificial sun more compact, so that it could be used globally.

  • Seoyng
    지서영
    2021년 3월 28일 at 7:15 오후

    Hello I am Seoyoung JI from Saint Paul International school.
    First fo all , I really enjoyed your presentation and thought this topic was really interesting. However I would like to ask you some more questions!

    1. How would Tokamak’s possible disadvantages be improved on?

    2. How is the safety of the artificial sun guaranteed? How would the artificial sun respond to natural crisis like earthquakes? Wouldn’t it be better to use the existing generators that have been proved to be safe even with lower quality/efficiency?

    3. How would this artificial sun be provided to other nations that cannot afford it?

    • slee25
      Steven Lee
      2021년 3월 29일 at 7:37 오전

      1. Main disadvantage of tokamak is that it can’t sustain high pressure plasma for a long time. For with this, Korea have almost solved it by using super conductors. The main reason why they couldn’t sustain high pressure plasma for a long time was because of the friction that the structure was making. With using super conductors, this friction have been minimized to the minimum.

      2. The safety of the artificial sun is already guaranteed. Comparing to nuclear plants, where once the fuel is ejected there no way to stop it, with artificial sun they could just turn off the power. so if there is a natural disaster, they could turn it off right away.

      3. This could be a problem when ITER is made, but currently the countries that are involved in the ITER project have agreed to provide this technology to countries that could not afford it. This means that if this clean energy is made, the countries all around the world would have access to it.

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