Korean Artificial Sun – KSTAR Fusion Reactor – Sets New World Record

Fusion Reactor

The Korean superconducting fusion device, also known as the Korean artificial sun, achieved a new world record by sustaining high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds, with an ion temperature exceeding 100 million degrees.

KSTAR sets the new world record of 20-sec-long operation at 100 million °C. Aims to continuously operate high-temperature plasma over the 100-million-degree for 300 seconds by 2025.

The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR), a superconducting fusion device also known as the Korean artificial sun, set a new world record as it succeeded in maintaining a high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds with an ion temperature over 100 million degrees.

On November 24, 2020, the KSTAR Research Center at the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy (KEF) announced that in a joint research 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, which is one of the core conditions of nuclear fusion in the 2020 KSTAR Plasma Campaign

It is an achievement to extend the 8-second plasma operation time during the 2019 KSTAR Plasma Campaign by more than 2 times. In its 2018 experiment, the KSTAR reached the plasma ion temperature of 100 million degrees for the first time (retention time: about 1.5 seconds)


KSTAR. Credit: National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI)

To re-create fusion reactions that occur in the sun on Earth, hydrogen isotopes must be placed inside a fusion device like KSTAR to create a plasma state where ions and electrons are separated, and ions must be heated and maintained at high temperatures.

So far, there have been other fusion devices that have briefly managed plasma at temperatures of 100 million degrees or higher. None of them broke the barrier of maintaining the operation for 10 seconds or longer. It is the operational limit of normal-conducting device* and it was difficult to maintain a stable plasma state in the fusion device at such high temperatures for a long time.

* Limits of a Normal Conduction Device: Unlike the KSTAR, a fusion device that features a superconducting magnet, the existing fusion devices based on normal-conducting magnets such as copper cannot be operated for an extended period of time because when a high electric current runs through the magnet to create magnetic field that is strong enough to confine plasma, the magnet becomes overheated due to its resistance.

KSTAR Tokamak

KSTAR Tokamak. Credit: National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI)

In its 2020 experiment, the KSTAR improved the performance of the Internal Transport Barrier(ITB) mode, one of the next-generation plasma operation modes developed last year, and succeeded in maintaining the plasma state for a long period of time, overcoming the existing limits of the ultra-high-temperature plasma operation.

Director Si-Woo Yoon of the KSTAR Research Center at the KFE explained, “The technologies required for long operations of 100 million- plasma are the key to the realization 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.”

“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 realization of nuclear fusion energy,” added Yong-Su Na, professor at the department of Nuclear Engineering, SNU, who has been jointly conducting the research on the KSTAR plasma operation.

Dr. Young-Seok Park of Columbia University who contributed to the creation of the high-temperature plasma said “We are honored 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 KSTAR began operating the device last August and plans to continue its plasma generation experiment until December 10, conducting a total of 110 plasma experiments that include high-performance plasma operation and plasma disruption mitigation experiments, which are joint research experiments with domestic and overseas research organizations.

In addition to the success in high-temperature plasma operation, the KSTAR Research Center conducts experiments on a variety of topics, including ITER research, designed to solve complex problems in fusion research during the remainder of the experiment period.

The KSTAR is going to share its key experiment outcomes in 2020 including this success with fusion researchers across the world in the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference which will be held in May.

The final goal of the KSTAR is to succeed in a continuous operation of 300 seconds with an ion temperature higher than 100 million degrees by 2025.

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 research to achieve the goal of mankind: the realization of nuclear fusion energy,” he continued.

As of November 20, 2020, the KFE, formerly the National Fusion Research Institute, an affiliated organization of the Korea Basic Science Institute, was re-launched as an independent research organization

The Korea Institute of Fusion Energy(KFE) is Korea’s only research institute specializing in nuclear fusion. Based on our development and operation of KSTAR, a superconducting fusion research device, the KFE seeks to achieve groundbreaking research results, develop core technology for commercializing nuclear fusion, and train outstanding nuclear fusion personnel. In addition, the institute is spearheading a joint effort to open the era of nuclear fusion energy in the mid-21st century through active participation in the ITER Project.

22 Comments on "Korean Artificial Sun – KSTAR Fusion Reactor – Sets New World Record"

  1. only 30 years away

  2. Think about the density of space and the orbit, or turning, of the proton and the reflection of the turning, and associated carving from space the space in which the proton is put and its centrifugal force that would leave its reflection. Like an electron, upon the densities of space in which it is kept, and not so much the temperature but the constant replication and orbit of associated magnetic energies creating a safe haven for humans to develop. Peace be with you.

  3. Does it have a positive energy outcome, or does it us more than it makes?

    • No it did not have a positive energy outcome. Read that in another article about it. Just holding the reaction for 20 seconds was amazing.

  4. Where’s the giant ice cube machine to reproduce a few lost glacier’s? Seems like that might be more currently useful and less wasteful

  5. Just wastage of time and money.
    As Allah said in Quran ” No one could make/produce anything as Allah Almighty creates, either you work together (Human and Jinnat). You won’t be able to do this”.

  6. What happens to all the heat. How does 100 million degrees cool down.

  7. This needs to be in space not on earth the potential of something going wrong space is the only place cool enough to contain the heat.

  8. What is the significance of all these stuffs?

    • The best thing about it is it sets us free from all the old school thoughts, even medical applications which are being examined to determine the vaccination programs which are given in advance of the flu season, meaning the strains of the expected virus is already known and people get vaccinated with the virus, so says the doc, hopefully in enough time to build up an immunity to the virus, so imagine the covid 19 you see, it was already known in 2019, so.that the people getting the vaccination are the first contaminants, and around 3/1/2020, the sheet hit the fan, it’s an attack on america by infidels and rebels who are using biological weapons to exterminate the poor, the disabled the elderly and those they target, because then these co.pa ies that produce such lethal strains can make more cash. Experiment more they say you know upon the neurological night light given them personal pleasure and provide even more cash and games for themselves, as we head out to the pasture and wait while these nazis see us sleep and boom they give you a big boot in the assssa

  9. It is crucial to tell us what the plasma density was and compare that to ITER. Holding a high temperature at very low density is not so hard. Density x Temperature x Time is the criterion of value. This is a good start, though, for this team.

  10. What about radiation levels???????

  11. Why do this…waste of money … products…time…when there is need to cool the earth down…make glaciers form in the ocean..we have a sun that sends radiation burst towards us. Imagine how much radiation is produced making an artificial sun here on earth….it’s kinda idiotic to do or make something we don’t need nor have the use for…. I’m just saying is to find what we need for the future and save the earth from changing to something unknown.

    • I think you misunderstand the concept of Artificial Sun, by comparison, the fusion reaction can be safer than fission. Many fusion reactor concepts come back to the idea of an Artificial Sun because of the level of heat produced from fusion. The Artificial Sun is by far the most successful design but in the end, is just a laboratory, research into creating a fusion reactor. Even the US has its own R&D sites including the Solar Ignition research lab, which is attempting to ignite frozen hydrogen using lasers to create a short-lived micro star. While it is hard to believe we may very well have the first fusion reactor powering a grid within 20 years. What does this mean for the average person? Nearly unlimited potential to support the grid into the imaginative future. Current estimates suggest the first fusion power plant will be able to sustain a grid up to 500MW maybe even higher depending on the scale of the power plant.

  12. They need my Powerball to Store all the Energy the Tomahawk will produce they may also use the Powerball as an free Energy Source that would power the heat up of the Tomahawk…Brett Franklin Swain Inventor…

  13. They need my Powerball to Store all that energy they will be producing with their Tomahawk the Powerball could also be free Energy for their startup heating run.

  14. In the famous words of Han Solo, “I have a bad feeling about this”.

  15. CharlesAnn Mitchell | December 28, 2020 at 4:20 am | Reply

    I agree with Trisha and Hans Solo. I have a bad feeling about this too. Will it eventually replace energy sources we use now? Will it produce cheaper energy? Or, is this a weapon?

  16. See BrilliantLightPower(dot)com for a super cheap way to create plasma with the same wavelength as the sun on earth! Simply by shrinking the hydrogen atom to a much smaller state!

  17. See BrilliantLightPower(dot)com for a super cheap way to create plasma with the same wavelength as the sun on earth! Simply by shrinking the hydrogen atom to a much smaller state! and for about 6000.00 Decentralized Electrical generation!

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