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What is KSTAR Fusion Reactor? Know all about South Korea's artificial sun here

Tulika Tandon

Recently the Korean KSTAR Fusion Reactor also called a Korean artificial sun has set a record of 20 seconds long operation at 100 million degrees. Know all the details about the reactor here. 

What is the KSTAR Fusion Reactor?

  1. KSTAR, also known as the Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research reactor, is a superconducting fusion device. It is also called the Korean artificial sun.
  2. This reactor has set a new world record. It maintained the high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds and reached an ion temperature of more than 100 million degrees. 
  3. A similar reactor is in China, France and many countries like USA, Russia, the European Union participate in the nuclear fusion reaction. 
  4. It is a research centre at the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy, located in Seoul National University in collaboration with Columbia University of the United States. 
  5. Hydrogen isotopes are kept in the fusion device which converts them into plasma and keeping them at the same temperature is a challenge. 

About KSTAR 

  • Construction was finished with on September 14, 2007
  • The first plasma was achieved in June 2008
  • In 2016, KSTAR set a record by maintaining a high temperature of hydrogen plasm at 50 million degree Celcius which was only broken by China's EAST in July 2017. 
  • KSTAR is one of the first research tokamaks in the world that are featuring fully superconducting magnets. These would be extremely relevant for ITER. 

KSTAR and ITER

  1. KSTAR conducts a study of magnetic fusion at National Fusion Institute in Daejeon, South Korea. 
  2. ITER effort is apart of responsibility for all the ITER countries and thus the ITER fusion project. 
  3. KSTAR Research Centre also conducts various researches like ITER researches that aim at solving the fusion reaction. 
  4. KSTAR aims to maintain the temperature of 100-degree Celcius for 300 seconds by 2025

What is a tokamak?

  1. It is a device that uses the highest form of the magnetic field to keep the super hot melted plasma in the shape of a torus or in the shape of an eye.  
  2. Thus tokamak is a magnetic confinement device that is used to produce the thermonuclear fusion reaction.
  3. This was developed by Soviet scientist named Igor Tamm and Andrei Sakharov 

What is ITER?

  1. International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor is international nuclear fusion research and engineering megaproject and also the world's largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment. 
  2. In case KSTAR is successful, the project would be carried out in ITER too. 
  3. The goal of ITER is to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion reaction for use in peaceful purposes. 
  4. This may lead to solving the electricity crisis for the coming centuries. 
  5. ITER's experimental tokamak reactor is situated near Cadarache, France 
  6. It is designed to create a plasma of 500 megawatts for almost 20 minutes

Once ITER is successful it would be the biggest fusion reactors. It would be followed by DEMO which would also produce electricity. 

Researchers in Korea began operating KSTAR last August and continued plasma operations until December 10, 2020. A total of 110 plasma experiments were conducted during that span, inclusive of a high-performance plasma operation and plasma disruption mitigation. In case these experiments are successful, a whole century of power issues would end. 

Also Read| GK Quiz December 28, 2020

FAQ

Which country made its artificial moon?

None yet, but China is planning to have its own moon by 2021 which would help it replace street lamps

Does the sun produce nuclear energy?

Nuclear energy is produced from stars but sun converts matter into energy using fusion process.

Which country apart from South Korea has artificial sun?

China has a nuclear fusion reactor called often as its artificial sun

Can there be an artificial sun?

No, the sun is the natural source of energy for Earth. Nuclear fusion reactors are called often as Artificial sun as they are based on the fusion reaction

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