Korean Artificial Sun
Source: National Research Council of Science & Technology

Korean Artificial Sun, sets a new world record for doubling the operation time. The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) is a superconducting fusion device. It has now successfully maintained a high temperature of over 100 million degrees for more than 20 seconds.

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The KSTAR announced that they have successfully conducted the operation at the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy (KFE) along with Seoul National University and Columbia University, USA.

This is a huge achievement for science as a whole. The previous best operation time for such temperature was 8 seconds. The new research was well past the double of the time.

According to Phys.org, in order to create fusion reactions just like the Sun on earth, hydrogen isotopes must be placed inside the fusion device. This creates a plasma state and ions and electrons are separated. However, ions must be heated and maintained at a very high temperature.

This was not the first experiment that happened. Previously many attempts were made but none in the world could break the barrier of 10 seconds before KSTAR. This breakthrough come after Internal Transport Barrier was advanced and improved to sustain a longer duration of plasma state.

Si-Woo Yoon, Director of KSTAR said,

“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.”

This could change the fate of Nuclear Engineering as a whole and the commercial use of the high-performance nuclear reactor. The aim of KSTAR is to have a stable plasma fusion for over 300 seconds by 2025.