The KSTAR (Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research) fusion reactor has set a new record in nuclear fusion. This produced temperatures seven times higher than those of the sun's core. The reactor is already nicknamed the “Korean artificial sun.”

Korea Breakthrough: Fusion Reactor Could Solve Many of Our Energy Problems in One Go

Nuclear fusion could solve many of our energy problems in one fell swoop. It promises an almost inexhaustible source of clean energy. The fusion reactor attempts to imitate the processes that occur in the core of the sun. There, hydrogen nuclei fuse to form helium nuclei, releasing a lot of energy.

Scientists have been trying to recreate such an artificial sun for decades. Now the KSTAR team in Dajeon, South Korea, has achieved a new breakthrough, as announced in the research institute's press release.

Tungsten derailleurs as wrenches

The biggest challenge of nuclear fusion is stabilizing the plasma using magnetic fields. KSTAR has shown that it can trap plasma, a cloud of extremely hot gas, for longer than ever before. In total, the temperature of one hundred million degrees in the fusion reactor remained stable for 48 seconds. This surpassed the previous record by 30 seconds.

The key to KSTAR's recent success is the introduction of tungsten derailleurs. The new components therefore withstand extreme temperatures better than their carbon predecessors. The scientists' goal is to keep the burning plasma stable for more than 300 seconds until 2026.

Source: Korea Fusion Energy Institute

By Véronique Fritsche

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