Korea creates ‘artificial sun’ in record time. The experiment represents a step towards mastering nuclear fusion, a technique for producing energy without radioactive waste or greenhouse gas emissions.
This is a feat South Korea has just achieved. Scientists from KSTAR (Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research) have succeeded in carrying out a project which at first seems a little crazy: to reproduce an “artificial sun” of 100 million degrees Celsius (at a reduced size of course).
This is seven times the estimated temperature for our star’s core. But what particularly pleases physicists is the length of the experiment: twenty seconds. A time which may seem short but which is, in fact, an unparalleled and above all promising record.
Nuclear Fusion: Source of Hope for the Future
This type of experience is already being tested elsewhere in the world. The United States, China and France are engaged in the race to create their own “artificial suns”. The goal is to master the nuclear fusion technique, not to be confused with nuclear fission currently used in power plants. It would allow scientists to easily produce a gigantic and almost “unlimited” amount of “clean” energy.
Environment Friendly Energy
Even more interesting: nuclear fusion energy does not emit greenhouse gases, and relies on abundant and accessible resources. Concretely, if scientists manage to master this fusion, they will create electricity en masse and without serious ecological impact, which could solve the planet’s energy supply problems.
All the more so since nuclear fusion does not release radioactive waste, unlike nuclear fission, its reverse phenomenon currently used in nuclear power plant.
This is why the South Korean experience is so important because it gets to the heart of the matter: ensuring this energy production’s stability—a real challenge. By itself, it is possible to produce a 100 million-degree plasma cloud by heating hydrogen gas. The problem is to maintain it. And in this, the Korean twenty seconds represent a plateau never reached before.
The previous record was eight seconds in 2019. By 2025, the goal is to keep this energy source active for 300 seconds. Still, insufficient time to massively produce electricity would represent a further step towards this ultimate goal, as Korea creates ‘artificial sun’.