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Korean Fusion Reactor Achieves Record Temperature for 30 Seconds

Korean Fusion Reactor Achieves Record Temperature for 30 Seconds

Scientists in South Korea have made a breakthrough in nuclear fusion research, achieving a record temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius for 30 seconds in their reactor.

The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) facility, also known as the Korean artificial sun, is one of the world’s leading fusion reactors. It uses a doughnut-shaped device called a tokamak to confine plasma, a super-hot state of matter, with powerful magnetic fields.

Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the sun and the stars. It involves fusing light atoms, such as hydrogen, into heavier ones, such as helium, releasing enormous amounts of energy in the process. Unlike nuclear fission, which splits atoms and produces radioactive waste, fusion is clean and virtually limitless.

However, achieving fusion on Earth is extremely challenging, as it requires creating and maintaining plasma at very high temperatures and pressures. The KSTAR team managed to sustain a stable plasma at 100 million degrees Celsius for 30 seconds, which is the minimum temperature and time needed for fusion reactions to occur.

This is a significant improvement from their previous record of 20 seconds, set in 2020, and a major milestone for the field of fusion research. The team also reported that they achieved a net energy gain, meaning that they produced more energy than they consumed.

The KSTAR team plans to extend the duration of high-temperature plasma to more than 300 seconds by 2025, which would bring them closer to the goal of developing a commercial fusion reactor. They are also collaborating with other international fusion projects, such as ITER in France and EAST in China.

Nuclear fusion is seen as a promising source of clean and abundant energy for the future. However, many technical and scientific challenges remain before it can become a reality. The KSTAR experiment is a remarkable achievement that demonstrates the progress and potential of fusion research.

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