In our series of posts on the virtual visit of existing tokamaks (GOLEM, ISTTOK), we attack today a big candidate: the korean tokamak KSTAR. Indeed, the IAEA conference on Fusion Energy takes place in Daejon (there are a lot of live tweeting about this) and it is a good opportunity to talk about this major player in nuclear fusion. You can access here the official website of the project KSTAR . It is one of the latest and most modern tokamaks. I attended the SOFT conference in Rostock in 2008 where the team made the announcement of the first plasma; it was very moving.
One of its main features are the supraconducting magnetic coils. Consequently, it offers the possibility to study the steady-state operation of a tokamak (with classical magnets, only a transient phase is possible before excessive heating). In size, it has the same order of magnitude as ASDEX-Upgrade or DIII-D.
It has three types of auxiliary heating: NBI, ICRH and lower hybrid. The ECRH is still in discussion.
It is not original to say that, but this team is very impressive in the way they work: at the last SOFT, they presented a long of results of high quality. I am especially impressed by the quality of the documentation: each detail of the construction of the machine made the object of a precise article. It is not so common for engineering topics to have such a rate of publication. I think that we have a lot to learn.
I have few contact with these people. We received two years ago three guests from the NFRI and had the opportunity to exchange a few words only during the summer party of our group. They are serious but my lack of experience with them makes it difficult to make a judgement on them. It would be anyway a pleasure in the future to develop more cooperation with them.