Korea’s Artificial Sun Sets World Record After Running At 100 Million Degrees For 20 Seconds
South Korea’s artificial sun smashed a world record after running at more than 100 million degrees for 20 seconds.
The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR), a superconducting fusion device, is key to the 2020 KSTAR Plasma Campaign.
Echoing the race for nuclear fusion seen in China and other countries across Europe, the KSTAR is built to recreate the sun’s fusion reactions on Earth. Basically, researchers will hold the power of the sun in the palm of their hands.
Until now, no other fusion device had been capable of maintaining temperatures of 100 million degrees or higher for 10 seconds or more. Think of Spider-Man 2; while fictional, it’s indicative of the difficulty in maintaining a plasma state in the fusion device at immense temperatures for long periods.
As per Phys.org, Si-Woo Yoon, director of the KSTAR Research Center at the KFE explained:
The technologies required for long operations of 100 million plasma are the key to the realization of fusion energy, and the KSTAR’s success in maintaining the high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds will be an important turning point in the race for securing the technologies for the long high-performance plasma operation, a critical component of a commercial nuclear fusion reactor in the future.
Yong-Su Na, professor at the department of Nuclear Engineering, SNU, who has teamed with the KFE on the KSTAR plasma operation, added: ‘The success of the KSTAR experiment in the long, high-temperature operation by overcoming some drawbacks of the ITB modes brings us a step closer to the development of technologies for realisation of nuclear fusion energy.’
The KSTAR’s accomplishments and findings will be shared with the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference in May 2021, with a goal of 100 million degrees for 300 seconds by 2025.
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