South Korea’s ‘artificial sun’ KSTAR reaches 100 million degrees Celsius for 20 seconds, sets new record

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December 30, 2020 8:04 PM

The intensity of the temperature reached by the KSTAR can be gauged from the fact that the source of light in the whole universe- the Sun- glows at a temperature of only 15 million degrees Celsius.

Yoon also said that the high performance plasma operation will play a crucial role in the commercial nuclear fusion reactor in the future.(Credit: National Research Council of Science & Technology via phys.org)Yoon also said that the high performance plasma operation will play a crucial role in the commercial nuclear fusion reactor in the future.(Credit: National Research Council of Science & Technology via phys.org)

South Korea’s magnetic fusion device Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) has set a new record in the field of fusion by reaching the temperature of over 100 million degree celsius for a period of 20 seconds. The intensity of the temperature reached by the KSTAR can be gauged from the fact that the source of light in the whole universe- the Sun- glows at a temperature of only 15 million degrees Celsius, the Indian Express reported. In comparative terms KSTAR was able to attain 6.6 times the temperature of the Sun.

Referred to as South Korea’s artificial Sun, the device had achieved a similar feat in the year 2018 as well but the temperature could only be maintained for a very short period of one and a half seconds. In 2019, the device increased its performance and retained the temperature for a period of 8 seconds. What made the difference this time was the development of the Internal Transport Barrier Mode which helped the device increase its performance substantially and set a new record.

Si-Woo Yoon, who is the director of the KSTAR Research Center at the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy, was quoted as saying in a statement that the record breaking performance of the KSTAR in maintaining the high temperature plasma for about 20 seconds will be a huge turning point. Yoon also said that the high performance plasma operation will play a crucial role in the commercial nuclear fusion reactor in the future. After achieving the milestone of retaining over 100 million degrees Celsius temperature for a period of 20 seconds, the Korean Institute of Fusion Energy has a target to increase the performance to 300 seconds by the year 2025.

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