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FPN04-33

Korean Fusion Program Summarized

May 7, 2004

After a period of small-scale basic plasma experiments in university laboratories in the 1970s and 1980s, the fusion program of the Republic of Korea initiated the KSTAR (Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research) project in 1995. The mission of the project is to develop a tokamak similar in size to ASDEX-U in Germany and DIII-D in the United States, but with superconducting magnets and capable of studying plasmas up to 300 seconds in duration.

A primary goal of the Korean fusion program is to contribute to the world fusion energy development program through participation as a partner in the joint implementation of the ITER project, to contribute useful scientific and technological information, and to join other potential international fusion projects. Korea expects to participate in ITER construction by providing, like other partners, a significant number of components contributed "in kind," and then to participate fully in the research operations. KSTAR is expected to serve as a useful pilot device for ITER operations due to its long pulse and D-shaped plasma.

Korea has joined other international fusion cooperative agreements, including the International Energy Agency (IEA) ASDEX Implementing Agreement and plans to participate in IEA fusion materials and technology agreements.

After joining the ITER Negotiations in June 2003, the Korean fusion program began a transitional period of shifting from basic science to atomic energy development. The Korean nuclear energy sector, which currently supplies 40% of Korea's electricity, is being mobilized and is in the process of reorganizing part of its R&D infrastructure for ITER development, including establishment of a dedicated unit for ITER.

The above report is drawn from an article written by Dr. Jung-Hoon Han, Head, International Cooperation Unit, National Fusion R&D Center, Korea Basic Science Institute, and published in the January 2004 ITER ITA Newsletter (available from c.basaldella@iaea.org).