South Korea’s ‘artificial sun’ sets new world record, lights up at 100 million degrees for record 20 seconds


A superconducting fusion device, also known as the Korean artificial sun, set the new world record as it successfully maintained high temperature over 100 million degrees (Celsius) for a record 20 seconds.

Comfortably setting a new world record for fusion, South Korea managed to light up an artificial sun at over 100 million degrees for a record 20 seconds. In comparison, the core of the Sun burns at only 15 million degrees Celsius.

According to reports, a team of South Korean physicists used an “artificial sun” — a superconducting fusion device known as KSTAR (Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research) for the experiment. For the fusion, scientists obtained a plasma (one of the four fundamental states of matter) from hydrogen composed of hot ions that exceeded the 100 million degrees temperature. To retain the ions, it is necessary to maintain incredibly high temperatures.

The researchers established a world record by turning this national artificial sun nuclear fusion reactor on and maintaining the high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds with an ion temperature over 100 million degrees (Celsius).

This fusion surpassed last year’s plasma operation that worked for 8 seconds. In 2018, KSTAR had reached a temperature of 100 million degrees for the first time, but only managed to keep it running for around 1.5 seconds.
The goal of the institute is to achieve fusion ignition for 300 seconds at a time by 2025, the report said.

Tokamak devices like KSTAR are used to recreate fusion reactions that occur in the Sun, here on Earth. According to the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), there are about 250 tokamak devices around the world, the report said.

Tokamak is an acronym for the Russian term “toroïdalnaïa kameras magnitnymi katushkami” or “toroidal chamber with magnetic coils”.

However, “none of them broke the barrier of maintaining the operation for 10 seconds or longer. It is the operational limit of the normal-conducting device and it was difficult to maintain a stable plasma state in the fusion device at such high temperatures for a long time,” a report in said.

Earlier in this month, China turned on its ‘artificial sun’ which managed to operate at 150 million degrees Celsius, a local report cited the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).

In November 2018, the Institute of Plasma Physics in Hefei, China, had announced that an Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (East) device had reached a milestone temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius and heating power of 100Mw.

The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (East) is an experimental fusion reactor built at the Institute of Plasma Physics in Hefei, China, on behalf of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. his temperature was sustained for 10 seconds.