South Korean Nuclear Fusion Transcends World Record By Maintaining 20 Seconds Under 100 Million Degrees for Its Artificial Sun

published: 2021-01-07 18:30 | editor: | category: News

Constructing a power plant that is on par with the energy of a star has been the milestone pursued by scientists all around the world, and South Korean nuclear fusion reactor KSTAR, known as the “Sun of Korea”, has taken a major stride forward recently by having managed to maintain the 100 million degrees of the plasma for 20 seconds, which is now the world record.

The superconducting tokamok nuclear fusion KSTAR of the Korea Institute of Fusion Technology (KFE) managed to heat up the temperature of the plasma to 100 million degrees under the joint research of the Seoul National University and the Columbia University, which is 7 times higher than the temperature of the sun’s core, and the high temperature was maintained for a record 20 seconds.

Looking at past achievements, the artificial sun lasted merely 1.5 seconds in 2018, and 8 seconds in 2019, before achieving 20 seconds this year, which although remains distant from the final target of 300 seconds, it has become the new world record. Numerous countries are currently studying the nuclear fusion technology, and none of them have managed to maintain the temperature of plasma for more than 10 seconds, which is the limit for ordinary conductive devices, as they are unable to maintain a stable status under such high temperature for a prolonged period of time.

South Korea had improved the internal transport barrier developed in an experiment last year, and overcame all existing challenged by having succeeded in extending the stable state of the plasma. Among which, the internal transport barrier refers to the partially radiated reduction of ion and plasma transmission, and primarily alters the pattern of current through external devices in the hope of refining on the restrictions and stability of plasma, as well as actuating additional bootstrap current.

Despite with no explanation on the method, KSTAR claims that the flaws of ITB have been improved, and the stability of the plasma has been elevated. Si-Woo Yoon, Director of the KSTAR Research Center, commented one of the key elements in achieving nuclear fusion power generation is the prolonged maintenance of plasma at 100 million degrees, and that KSTAR has achieved 20 seconds, which is an important turning point in this competition of nuclear fusion.

Doctor Young-Seok Park of Columbia University commented that an effective heating of the core plasma to 100 million degrees proves the distinctiveness of the KSTAR device, which will become the technical foundation for high performance and stable fusion plasma in the future.

 (Cover photo source: Michel Maccagnan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

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