KSTAR Fusion Reactor Achieves Highest Duration for High-Temperature Plasma

KSTAR- Artificial Sun

Ever imagined what would be the life if Sun dies (if it does not explode then it would be possibly dark, else we all die apparently). But no one needs to worry about life after Sun dies as we have an artificial sun sitting right down in Korea – (above lines not to be taken seriously). So basically the Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research or KSTAR reactor is called the Korean artificial sun which is a superconducting fusion device.

They have reached a milestone recently as they managed to maintain a high temperature of plasma for 20 seconds during which they reached an ion temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius. And the next goal is set by scientists for 2025 that they will now operate plasma for 300 seconds at a high temperature over 100 million degrees.

Milestone of 20 Seconds

Achievement of the researchers in the 2020 KSTAR Plasma Campaign by observing the ion temperature over 100 million degrees is a core condition of nuclear fusion. It may be weird to hear the 20 second duration but it is a great improvement from the last year’s eight-second plasma operation by the team of researchers.

KSTAR Tokamak
KSTAR Tokamak

And initially, the time recorded for a plasma ion temperature of 100 million degrees was only 1.5 seconds back in 2018 by the team. The reactor is capable of producing fusion reactions like the ones that occur in the sun like I said the spare sun in Korea. But it may sound easier for a few but to create an environment with such high temperatures on Earth, there needs to precise detailing – as the fusion device must be used to place the hydrogen isotopes to generate a plasma state where electrons and ions are separated. And to maintain this environment for a longer period, one would need to heat the ions and maintain them at very high temperatures.   

KSTAR with Strong Researchers

And the major achievement of the KSTAR reactor is that it is the only fusion device that was able to maintain plasma at 100 million degrees of temperature or higher. Moreover, no other reactors were capable of maintaining those temperatures for over 10 seconds. The key to realizing fusion energy as explained by Director at the KSTAR Research Center Si-Woo Yoon is the technology that lasts for long operations of 100 million-degree plasma.

Researchers were the dedicated ones to achieve the milestone as they had begun operating from August and continued till December 10. In this period, they were able to perform 110 plasma experiments which included plasma disruption mitigation experiments high-performance plasma operations.

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