By 2026, the Korean government plans to build technology for Korea’s first artificial sun, KSTAR, which would sustain a temperature of 100 million degrees for 300 seconds.
The minimal time necessary for the commercialization of nuclear fusion technology is 300 seconds. On December 30, the Ministry of Science and ICT reported that the 16th National Fusion Committee was convened at the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy to finalize the ‘4th fundamental plan of nuclear fusion energy development (2022-2026).’ Every five years, the science ministry establishes goals and directions for nuclear fusion energy development.
According to the plan, it will continue to improve operating technology in the field of KSTAR experiments, which are yielding impressive results such as maintaining 100 million degrees of ultra-high temperature plasma (for 30 seconds in 2021) and developing technology to keep the temperature at 300 degrees for 300 seconds by 2026.
The underlying process by which the artificial sun creates light and heat is nuclear fusion. By artificially applying this concept on Earth through KSTAR, the government hopes to create power such as electricity.
In 2018, a Korean research team was the first to keep KSTAR at 100 million degrees for 1.5 seconds. Last year, it was able to maintain a temperature of 100 million degrees for 20 seconds, and this year, it was able to do it for 30 seconds. Following up on last year’s record, Korea has established a new world record this year.
The government also offered fundamental demonstration concepts for future nuclear fusion power generation, as well as a proposal to build a “long-term R&D roadmap” by 2030, which includes crucial networks.
It also chose eight “core technologies” to demonstrate future nuclear fusion power generation, including high-temperature, long-time, and high-density core plasma technology, as well as blanket technology to boost tritium and generate electricity. It plans to acquire eight fundamental technologies through R&D initiatives and systemic collaboration, with a preliminary concept design for the demonstration set for 2023.