SCEINCE

A South Korean artificial solar reactor has just broken a record for nuclear fusion

The Korean Institute for Thermonuclear Energy set a new record by operating at one million degrees and maintaining super hot plasma for 30 seconds, beating its previous record by 10 seconds. report from New atlas reveals.

The tokamak reactor used for the recording is Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR), also known as the artificial sun of South Korea.

South Korea’s KSTAR broke the world record for fusion

Fusion uses the same reaction that the Sun and other stars use to produce virtually unlimited amounts of energy. On Earth, scientists are developing the process through fusion reactors, called tokamaksthat use powerful magnets to control and stabilize plasma that burns at millions of degrees. In this way, they allow the atoms to collide to form a heavier nucleus. In theory, this will release huge amounts of sustainable energy, helping the world reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and turn the tide on the worst effects of climate change.

The construction of the KSTAR device was completed in 2007 and since then it has taken important steps towards providing net fusion energy. Last December, he set a world record by maintaining plasma at ~ 180 million ° F (100 million ° C) for 20 seconds. Now the Korean Institute for Fusion has surpassed itself by extending that time and beating its own world record by 10 seconds, for a total time of 30 seconds.

Striving for “clean energy” from nuclear fusion

The team of the institute stated that the record was achieved thanks to the optimization of the tokamak heating system, as well as the conditions of the magnetic field in the machine. The team then strives to beat its own record several times by 2026, maintaining the plasma for 300 seconds. To achieve this, they will need to upgrade their reactor to allow control of these enormous temperatures for longer periods.

A series of advances in fusion technology are paving the way for unlimited sustainable energy. In May, for example, the UK Atomic Administration announced that it had developed the world’s first tokamak exhaust system, which would help to significantly reduce the temperatures in the devices, allowing them to work for longer periods. A Meanwhile, Bill Gates-backed startup MIT Commonwealth Fusion Systems recently revealed the results of successful tests on an incredibly powerful and energy efficient magnet for his tokamak synthesis experiment called SPARC.

Although we see advances in fusion technology in leaps and bounds, the road to “net energy” from fusion is a long one. Currently, the energy required to power a tokamak device exceeds the energy produced by the machines. Net energy will be achieved when the energy produced by nuclear fusion exceeds the energy needed to power these artificial suns on Earth.





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