25 April 2017
On April 21, the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning of South Korea released its third five-year plan for the development of nuclear fusion energy.
The South Korean government enacted law for the purpose in 2006 and has set up and implemented its five-year plans since then in order to be capable of building nuclear fusion power plants by 2041. Based on the first plan, it built the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) facilities and participated in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project with the United States and the EU. In the phase of the second plan, it set up a new world record in plasma maintenance and signed international contracts worth more than 500 billion won via the ITER project.
The third plan is to set the foundation for research on power generation by means of nuclear fusion. In other words, it is to work on technology for actual power generation based on nuclear fusion and demonstrate the technology for commercial use based on the outcome of the project and the KSTAR.
In this context, the government is going to establish the concept of a demonstration reactor and come up with a technological development roadmap. The concept and roadmap are to be used for a design process to be completed in the period of the fourth plan and actual construction to be initiated in 2030 or later. A council for academic and industrial cooperation is scheduled to be organized for the same purpose, too. At the same time, the government is going to increase the value of the contracts to 800 billion won by 2021 while completing the establishment of an R&D lab next year.