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KSTAR fusion reactor sets record for high-temperature plasma duration



KSTAR or Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research Reactor is a superconducting fusion device called the Korean Artificial Sun. KSTAR set a new world record of maintaining high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds, with ion temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius. Now, the goal of the scientists working on the project is to continuously operate 100 million degrees high temperature plasma within 300 seconds by 2025.

Reaching an ion temperature of 100 million degrees or more is the core condition for nuclear fusion of 2020 KSTAR plasma movement. Although 20 seconds is not too long, it is a significant improvement compared to the 8-second plasma operation recorded by the team of researchers in 201

9.

In 2018, the team reached a plasma ion temperature of 100 million degrees for the first time, with a duration of 1.5 seconds. Fusion reactors can produce fusion reactions similar to those that occur in sunlight. In order to generate such high temperatures on the earth, hydrogen isotopes must be placed inside the fusion device to create a plasma state in which ions and electrons are separated. The ions must be heated and kept at extremely high temperatures.

KSTAR is the only fusion device that can maintain plasma at a temperature of 100 million degrees or higher. However, no other reactor can maintain these temperatures for more than 10 seconds. Si-Woo Yoon, director of the KSTAR Research Center, said that the technology required for long-term operation of 100 million degrees plasma is essential for realizing fusion energy.

Researchers in South Korea started operating KSTAR in August last year and continued plasma operations until December 10. During this period, the researchers conducted 110 plasma experiments, including high-performance plasma operations and experiments to mitigate plasma damage.


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