Korean Researchers Find Out New Principle in Early Commercialization of Nuclear Fusion

Business Korea Cho Jin-young | 9 September 2016

South Korea’s superconducting nuclear fusion simulator KSTAR.

A team of Korean researchers found a new principle that can control an edge localized mode (ELM)

The National Fusion Research Institute announced on September 8 that they found out that a turbulent flow in a magnetic field of a nuclear fusion device restrains an ELM in concert with professor Park Hyun-geo of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and professor Yun Geon-soo of POSTECH.

An ELM is one of unstable phenomena which take place due to a big change in pressure on the edge of a high-temperature of plasma in a tokama that uses a powerful magnetic field to confine ultra-high-temperature plasma. An ELM which takes place in a regular pattern on the edge of plasma inside a nuclear fusion device should be controlled for a stable fusion reaction since energy inside the plasma is leaked to the outside and weakens the confinement performances of a tokamak and damages the internal wall of the tokamak

The research team confirmed the fact that when controlling plasma via a three-dimensional electron temperature visual device in the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR), a small vortex-shaped turbulent flow prevents an ELM from destroying the plasma.

Although researchers came up with the results of experiments that prevented ELMs from undermining plasma, no researcher found out how a magnetic field precludes plasma from being collapsed.

“This study which found out relations between turbulent flows in magnetic fields and ELMs is an interest result that can match a phenomenon that big red dots on the surface of Jupiter maintain stable structures by interacting with neighboring turbulent flows,” professor Yun said. “This study is quite meaningful in that it really observed the existence of a turbulent flow on the surface of plasma caused by a magnetic field and interactions between turbulent flows and ELMs.”

This research result was published in the August 12 edition of the Physical Review Letters, an international academic journal in the physics sector.