The assembly of the ITER fusion reactor began in the south of France last week in what has been called the biggest science project in human history.
It is hoped the reactor will be able to produce clean energy using the same process that fuels the sun.
ITER or the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor is an international project that hopes to create clean energy from hydrogen fusion, the same process that occurs naturally in the heart of the sun.
Fusion will be obtained through a mixture of two hydrogen isotopes, heated to a temperature of around 150 million degrees.
A long sought-after alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and gas, hydrogen fusion generates no long-term waste while the fuels needed to create fusion are found in seawater and lithium, and so readily available.
ITER - where are we headed with this new kind of energy and what kind of a role does South Korea play in all this?
It's the topic of our News In-depth tonight with Jung Kijung, Director General of ITER Korea live in the studio with us.
Dr. Jung, thank you for joining us tonight.
ITER is an international nuclear fusion research and engineering mega-science project, formed in 2007.
Where was the platform of nuclear fusion in South Korea in 2007? What qualified South Korea to get involved in the ITER project?
The idea for an international joint experiment involving this science of nuclear fusion was first launched in 1988.
Can you tell us a little bit about how things have realized from the initial idea to the global project its become today?
The ITER project is now a globe-spanning collaboration of 35 nations, while there are only 7 member states.
How is the involvement of these countries different (the 35 vs the 7 member states)?
South Korea plays a rather key role in the whole project by providing 4 of the 9 sectors of the vacuum vessel.
This stainless-steel chamber, once all 9 sectors are assembled, completes a Tokamak.
What kind of work does this entail for the scientists and the organization itself?
Also called an "artificial sun", this project is expected to solve humankind's energy problems.
How do you see the timeline of countries moving away from current sources of energy to this new nuclear fusion energy?
How does this affect the current South Korean export market of nuclear power plants? Does ITER make this industry obsolete?
How does the recognition of this project affect the field of nuclear physics here in South Korea - for the industry as a business, as well as future students in the field?
Jung Kijung, Director General of ITER Korea, many thanks for sharing your insights with us this evening. We appreciate it.