What is the Artificial Sun
It is a superconducting fusion device, known as the Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR).
Just like the nuclear fusion experiments seen in China and other European countries, the KSTAR is built to recreate the sun’s fusion reactions on Earth.
Basically, the researchers will hold the power of the sun in the palm of their hands.
The KSTAR Research center at the Korean Institute of Fusion Energy(KFE), succeeded in the continuous operation of the plasma for 20 seconds with the ion temperature higher than 100 million degrees Celcius in the collaboration with the Seoul National University (SNU), and Colombia University of the US.
South Korea’s artificial sun smashed the world record after running at more than 100 degrees Celcius for 20 seconds.
The duration is a new world record.
In 2019, and in February 2020 the same Koren Institute operated the artificial sun for around 8 seconds.
In 2018 the artificial sun reached a temperature of around 100 million degrees Celcius.(retention time: 1.5 seconds).
Ion Temperature >100million degrees Celcius is one of the core conditions of nuclear fusion of the 2020 KSTAR Plasma Campaign.
There have been other fusion devices that have overseen plasma at a temperature of 100 million degrees Celcius But none of them broke the limit of maintaining the activity for 10 seconds or more.
To re-create fusion reactions that occur in the sun on the Earth, hydrogen isotopes must be placed inside a fusion device like KSTAR.
This creates a plasma state where ions and electrons are separated, and ions must be heated and maintained at high temperatures.
In the 2020 experiment, the KSTAR improved the performance of the Internal Transport Barrier(IBT) mode, one f the next generation plasma operation modes.
This helped to maintain the plasma state for an extended period, overcoming the existing limits of the ultra-high temperature plasma operation.
The technologies required for long operations of 100 million plasma are the key realization of the fusion energy.
How The project began:
The KSTAR is a magnetic fusion device at the National Fusion Research Institute in Daejeon, South Korea.
It is intended to study the aspects of magnetic fusion energy which is important for the ITER fusion project as a part of the country’s contribution to the ITER fusion efforts.
KSTAR Research experiments on a variety of topics including ITER research designed to solve the complex problems in fusion research.
The Korean project was approved in 1995 but construction was delayed due to the East Asian Financial crisis in 1997.
The construction phase of the project was completed on September 14, 2007.
The first plasma was achieved in June 2008.
In December 2016, KSTAR sets a world record by confining and maintaining a high-temperature hydrogen plasma(about 50 million degrees Celcius) for 70 seconds.
The record was broken by EAST(Experimental Advanced superconducting tokamak) 101.2 seconds in July 2017.
.Features of KSTAR:
KSTAR is one of the first research tokamaks in the world to feature fully superconducting magnets, which will be of great relevance to ITER as this will also use superconducting magnets,
A tokamak is a device that uses powerful magnetic fields to confine hot plasma in the shape of a torus(Shape of a truck tyre tube).
The tokamak is of the several types of confinement device being used to produce controlled thermonuclear fusion power.
The tokamak was initially conceptualized by the soviet union.
The KSTAR is going to share its experiment outcomes across the world in the IAEA fusion energy Conference which will be held in 2021.
The final goal of the KSTAR is to succeed in the continuous creation of 300 seconds with an ion temperature higher than 100 million degrees Celcius by 2025.
What is ITER?
ITER(International Thermonuclear Experimental Research) international nuclear fusion research and mega engineering project.
It is the world’s largest magnetic confinement plasma physics equipment.
The goal of ITER is t demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy for peaceful use and subsequently to bolster the global nuclear fusion industry.
The project is funded by seven member entities:
The EU, India, China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, USA.
Overall,35 countries are participating in the project directly or indirectly.