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South Korea's artificial sun has set a new world record after succeeding in maintaining the high temperature plasma for 20 seconds with an ion temperature over 100 million degrees (Celsius).
On 27 November, the KSTAR Research Center at the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy (KFE) announced the joint research project with the Seoul National University (SNU) and Columbia University of the United States.
It succeeded in continuous operation of plasma for 20 seconds with an ion-temperature higher than 100 million degrees. Sounds hawt.
The milestone has been hailed as an important step in the search to generate electricity via nuclear fusion.
Director Si-Woo Yoon of the KSTAR Research Center at the KFE told phys.org: "The technologies required for long operations of 100 million-plasma are the key to the realisation of fusion energy, and the KSTAR's success in maintaining the high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds will be an important turning point in the race for securing the technologies for the long high-performance plasma operation, a critical component of a commercial nuclear fusion reactor in the future."
Yong-Su Na, professor at the department of Nuclear Engineering who has been jointly conducting the research, added: "The success of the KSTAR experiment in the long, high-temperature operation by overcoming some drawbacks of the ITB modes brings us a step closer to the development of technologies for realisation of nuclear fusion energy."
Dr Young-Seok Park from Columbia University who contributed to the creation of the high temperature plasma said: "We are honoured to be involved in such an important achievement made in KSTAR.
"The 100 million-degree ion temperature achieved by enabling efficient core plasma heating for such a long duration demonstrated the unique capability of the superconducting KSTAR device, and will be acknowledged as a compelling basis for high performance, steady state fusion plasmas."
The KFE's new goal is to maintain the operation for 300 seconds by 2025. It explained: "The duration of 300 seconds means being capable of controlling the instability of nuclear fusion-based power generation.
"We are going to continue with our challenge to realise nuclear fusion energy, which is a goal of the entire human race."
KFE President Suk Jae Yoo stated: "I am so glad to announce the new launch of the KFE as an independent research organization of Korea. The KFE will continue its tradition of undertaking challenging researches to achieve the goal of mankind: the realisation of nuclear fusion energy."
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