Korea to Host 'World Cup' of Nuclear Fusion Energy

      July 08, 2010 12:46

      Kim Chang-woo

      The World Cup is an international sports extravaganza that draws passionate responses even from people who are not avid fans. It is where teams show off the skills they honed and learn from the strengths and weaknesses of their rivals, and offers the chance to boost the global standard of football.

      There is a World Cup equivalent in the field of science that offers the chance to gauge the technological levels of participating countries and share the latest achievements. In the cutting-edge field of nuclear fusion energy, the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference might be called the World Cup or Olympics. It draws experts from around the world who share their latest research and future visions.

      For six days beginning Oct. 11, more than 1,500 nuclear fusion experts from around the world will gather in Daejeon. This year's conference, held under the theme "21st Century Environment and Knowledge-based Energy," will encompass a Green Forum where participants discuss their visions of green energy, a Youth Conference to pass on valuable knowledge to younger generations, and a Green Festival for nuclear fusion experts, students and other visitors. In about 100 days, Daejeon will be the stage for this World Cup of nuclear fusion. Since access to energy is now a key measure of a major global power, clean nuclear fusion energy is a core area of research for governments around the world. And the hosting of the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference this year attests to Korea's growing global status.

      Korea's accomplishments in the field were recognized in 2007 with the completed construction and operation of the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Reactor, or KSTAR. Although Korea got off to a late start compared to advanced countries, tenacity and resourcefulness enabled the completion of a world-class nuclear fusion reactor followed by successful tests. Korean researchers will be able to deliver the results of the most advanced research in the field through KSTAR, demonstrating the country's role as a world leader in nuclear fusion technology. In South Africa, the Korean national football team advanced to the round of 16 for the first time at a World Cup tournament on foreign soil. By hosting the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference, Korea will consolidate its global status as a leader in nuclear fusion technology. We hope the public will not only show interest in the upcoming conference but offer their heartfelt support as well.

      By Kim Chang-woo, the secretary general of the 23rd IAEA Fusion Energy Conference Secretariat

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