Last month, the Korea Tokamak superconducting research (KSTAR) A device, a nuclear fusion reactor known as “Artificial sun“, Broke the world record by maintaining a plasma for an incredible 20 seconds at an ion temperature greater than 100 million degrees Celsius (180 million degrees Fahrenheit), which is one of the prerequisites for Nuclear fusion From such a device.
KSTAR offers amazing. It first reached 100 million degrees Celsius in 2018 but only for 1.5 seconds. In 2019, this was extended to 8 seconds. This has now doubled. No other device capable of producing plasma so hot (or so hot) could sustain it for more than 10 seconds.
This record breakthrough was made possible by the newly developed internal transfer bulkhead laying. Researchers believe they will be able to achieve 300 seconds with a higher ion temperature than achieved here over the next five years. A critical goal in the future development of commercial nuclear fusion reactors.
“The technologies required for long processes of 100 million degrees of plasma are the key to achieving fusion energy,” said Se-Woo Yoon, director of the KSTAR Research Center at the Korea Institute for Fusion Energy. statement. “[T]KSTAR’s success in maintaining high temperature plasma for 20 seconds will be an important turning point in the race to secure technologies for the long high performance plasma process, a critical component of a future commercial nuclear fusion reactor. “
KSTAR went into operation in August and lasted until December 10. The team conducted a total of 110 plasma trials to test the capabilities of the device in addition to the methods and techniques of plasma injection and its stabilization. The experiments were conducted in cooperation with local and international partners.
South Korea is a member ITER (Originally the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), the massive engineering project that would be the largest nuclear fusion reactor ever built. Its goal is to demonstrate that it is possible to build a device that can release more energy through nuclear fusion (in a controlled fashion), which it would take to create the conditions for fusing atoms of light in the first place.
The experiments conducted with KSTAR are essential to inform the development of ITER, which is supposed to start operating in 2025. The results of the KSTAR 2020 operation are expected to be presented at the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference in May 2021.
While the joke is that nuclear fusion is always 20 years away, developments like this over the past decade really show just how far the field has come.