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The Korean artificial sun KSTAR is ready for new challenges in 2022.  Watch our latest Youtube video to find out what to expect for the 2022 KSTAR campaign! 
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In 2022, KSTAR will receive a new tungsten divertor that will allow it to operate with much hotter plasmas longer. The divertor, a part of the Plasma Facing Components (PFC) within a tokamak, cleans the impurities caused by plasma operations. However, not only the divertor needs to be changed for hotter plasmas. A brand new cooling water system is also being prepared for the KSTAR.   Cool enough for 100 million ℃ Plasma temperatures inside the KSTAR tokamak can reach over 100 million ℃. Although the heat does not directly reach the PFCs thanks to superconducting magnets, which create strong magnetic fields and suspend the plasmas in a vacuum, they still have to endure indirect heat whose temperatures are around 1,000℃. This is where the cooling water does its job. The coolants run inside the PFCs through flow paths, cooling down the heat generated from plasma operations. This cooling is indispensable for stable plasma operations as well as to protect the tokamak components from extensive heat. The cooling water system consists of a storage tank, circulation pumps, heat exchangers, valves, an automatic control system, power supplies, etc. Also, the cooling water needs a purity maintenance system and UV sterilizers to keep it ultrapure. A baking system and drying system are integrated in the system as well - the former gets rid of the impurities within the vacuum vessel when KSTAR starts operating and the latter completely dries out any water left inside the device after experiments. The upgrade will comprehensively include all these systems. The cooler the system, the longer the plasma operations KSTAR is attempting to achieve 300-second-long continuous operation with 100 million ℃ plasma by 2026. For longer ultra-high temperature plasma operations, tungsten was selected to be the next PFC material because it is one of the most effective materials for the inner walls of a fusion reactor. ITER also chose tungsten for its divertor. Since much more intense heat will come from the new tungsten divertor, it was only natural to improve the cooling water system to match it. The current system was designed to circulate 207.33ℓ of cooling water through pipes per second with 16 bar pressure. However, when the operation runs for 300 seconds, the flow and pressure of coolants should be drastically different. The new system will circulate 520ℓ of coolant per second with 30 bar pressure. In addition, the capacity of the storage tank will be enlarged from the current 90 tons to accommodate 150 tons of cooling water. The pipes will also be replaced to endure increased pressure. The upgrade for the new cooling water system began in 2020. As of April 2022, 38% of the tasks had been completed. The new components such as the water tank, pumps, heat exchangers, and the purity maintenance system are already in the KSTAR’s basement, ready to be installed in August. (New components in KSTAR basement) 
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A commercial plasma gasification reactor is to be developed under a new Task Agreement (TA) between the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy (KFE) and two major Korean companies. The reactor will be designed to dispose of waste in an eco-friendly way while producing high-purity hydrogen. On April 12, KFE President Dr. Suk Jae Yoo announced that KFE had entered into the TA to develop a commercial plasma gasification reactor with Hyundai Power Systems and GS Engineering & Construction Corporation. Under the TA, the three will closely collaborate on (i) research and development of a plasma pyrolysis gasification system, (ii) development and manufacturing of a commercial plasma gasification reactor, and (iii) commercialization of plasma gasification technology. Plasma gasification is a technology that uses hot plasma to incinerate waste without polluting the air by gasifying the organic part of the waste into hydrogen, carbon monoxide, etc. Such byproducts can also be recycled after purification to produce high-purity hydrogen and generate energy. KFE has been accumulating expertise and experience in plasma gasification technology: it has successfully developed a 500KW plasma torch, which will serve as one of the core components for the reactor. KFE is also running an experimental reactor with the capacity to dispose of 1.5 tons of waste per day using an innovative KFE reactor structure to increase pyrolysis efficiency.                                       (500KW plasma torch)                                                                                                       (KFE experimental reactor) Implementing the TA, Hyundai Power Systems will collaborate with KFE to develop and build a commercial reactor that can accommodate 100 tons of waste per day based on its expertise in manufacturing industrial boilers - It is renowned for its original circulating fluidized bed combustion boiler technology. GS Engineering & Construction Corp. will also contribute by developing technologies to establish facilities for hydrogen production and electricity generation, making use of its own experience in building multiple environmental, refinery, and petrochemical plants. “There have been several domestic attempts to commercialize plasma waste disposal technology, with none reaching the commercialization stage yet,” commented Dr. Yoo. “Through the synergy between KFE’s technology and the companies’ expertise in boiler manufacture and plant construction, we expect to disseminate plasma gasification technology throughout the energy industry.”
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On April 5th, a small celebration ceremony was held to celebrate the safe arrival of the third Vacuum Vessel sector which departed South Korea in January. It traveled 12,000km across both sea and land to finally arrive at the ITER site. In the ceremony, researchers from the ITER KODA and the ITER IO gathered to celebrate. Staff from SHIN JO Logitech, which managed the delivery, and DAHER, which handles the global logistics of the ITER IO, attended as well. Korea is in charge of procuring four sectors out of the nine that will comprise the ITER Vacuum Vessel. The second sector was delivered in 2021, following the first sector in 2020. In January, when the third sector was manufactured and ready to ship to France, an unexpected typhoon in Korea suddenly hindered its departure. Severe winds and high tides at Mipo Port made it impossible to sail. Urgently, it was decided to move the sector and ship from Ulsan Port where it was relatively less stormy. After close cooperation with the ITER IO, it finally began its journey toward the ocean safely onboard a special ship. During the gathering, the ITER KO-DA Director-General Dr. Kijung Jung expressed his gratitude for every effort that was made to safely deliver the third sector. He shared the details of the “fantastic emergency measures” taken to ship it despite the natural disaster. Now, a total of three sectors have arrived from Korea. The first sector is almost ready for the ‘tokamak pit’. The sub-assembly process has already been finished, where external thermal shielding and two TF superconducting magnets were attached to it. The second sector is currently under sub-assembly, and the third will go through it soon. The final fourth sector will arrive in France within the second half of 2022.   
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KSTAR demonstrated the world-leading technology for continuous fusion plasma operation The Korean artificial sun, the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research device (KSTAR), broke its world record for continuous plasma operation by maintaining a plasma ion temperature of over one hundred million degrees Celsius for thirty seconds. On November 22, the KSTAR Research Center at the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy (KFE) announced that during the 2021 campaign it had succeeded in in accomplishing this important performance goal. Such high temperatures are required to produce fusion on Earth and generate energy. Fusion technology continues to gain attention as a method of generating clean, carbon-free energy from fusion reactions, which is the same mechanism that generates solar energy inside the Sun. The Sun’s extreme density and temperature can sustain those fusion reactions. But on the Earth, maintaining the proper conditions for fusion requires special fusion devices. These systems turn hydrogen isotopes into a plasma state, where electrons are separated from the hydrogen ions. For this to occur continuously, the plasma temperatures inside the fusion device must be maintained at over one hundred million degrees C. KSTAR has been conducting experiments since 2008, to develop advanced technologies for the continuous operation of the super-hot plasma. In 2018, KSTAR achieved plasma ion temperatures exceeding one hundred million degrees. In 2020, it operated such super-hot plasmas for twenty seconds, which was then the longest operating time in the history of fusion research. With the new record-extending ten seconds, KSTAR has achieved another world-class milestone. Great advances in KSTAR’s heating systems and plasma control technologies, which are based on optimized magnetic field conditions, have contributed to increase plasma stabilities in the Internal Transport Barrier (ITB) Mode for fusion reactor operations. Now KSTAR is planning to improve its power supply systems and install a new tungsten divertor to further prolong operating time. The tungsten divertor is expected to help suppress increases in tokamak wall temperature during the long periods of operation. Researchers will also explore ways to further increase the stability of the ITB Mode, using several measures including real-time feedback control technologies. The KSTAR’s planned goal is to operate for three hundred seconds at one hundred million degrees by 2026. “The Korea Institute of Fusion Energy (KFE) was established as an independent research institute, a legal entity in 2020, to enable more pioneering fusion research with a more stable research environment,” commented Dr. Suk Jae Yoo, President of KFE. “We will strive to contribute to the national energy goals by securing the core fusion technologies in time,” he added. For more: KFE NEWS vol. 31  - 2021 KSTAR highlights & interviews  - Burning waste to generate energy: Plasma pyrolysis gasification technology
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A Leap for Fusion Simulation Technology: Planning Study for V-DEMO Development in Korea Fusion technology development in Korea faces three primary challenges: (i) Development of a high-performance operating mode for Tokamak, (ii) Building a blanket test facility to bridge KSTAR, ITER, and a fusion demonstration plant (DEMO), and (iii) Utilization of experimental data along with the integration of scientific and technological achievements to design a fusion DEMO. To achieve these three missions, KFE conducted a planning study for the development of V-DEMO. V-DEMO will be a virtual fusion demonstration plant, built by applying the 4th Industrial Revolution technologies including supercomputers, artificial intelligence, big data, etc. The ultimate goal of V-DEMO is to quantitatively realize the core functions of a fusion power plant and comprehensively reproduce one by integrating simulations of tokamak, blanket, and BOP (Balance of Power) systems. With these features, V-DEMO can be used to identify various physical and engineering requirements that can be used in the detailed engineering designs of a fusion power plant. Clarifying these requirements can help in optimizing and verifying plant designs, as well as assisting security and safety clearance studies by investigating various accident scenarios. Building V-DEMO will require examining available technologies and current technological levels, and then specifying strategies for each step. Therefore, the focus of this planning study was identifying the technological priorities required to resolve the challenges mentioned above. Technology development trends and development direction for V-DEMO Fusion simulation is the core technology for V-DEMO. It has been under development for the last two decades, mainly focusing on core plasma, heating, and PMI (Plasma Material Interaction). The current mainstream technologies are large-scale simulations capable of parallel expansion over tens of thousands of CPU cores. Korean researchers are presently working to elaborate and verify simulations using KSTAR’s advanced imaging diagnostics. The global goal in fusion simulation development is to develop the capability to quantitatively predict experiments using supercomputer-based simulations, and relevant studies are expected to play a large role in KSTAR studies. The core plasma in tokamak is connected to power facilities via a breeding blanket system, which converts fusion energy into electricity. Simulating fusion electricity generation involves both fusion and nuclear power studies. The former can take advantage of the latter. As a matter of fact, the TBM (Test Blanket Module) currently being tested in ITER uses nuclear analysis tools and safety analysis codes from the nuclear power community, demonstrating that nuclear simulation technologies can be expanded to enable V-DEMO’s targeted functions. AI (Artificial Intelligence) is also promising for fusion research innovation. AI can utilize machine learning based on numerous fusion experiments and simulation data to derive a data-driven fusion model. The big advantage of the data-driven fusion model is its combination of fast calculation and good precision. For example, according to research already published, a heating simulation can be generated in a much shorter time with machine learning, allowing real-time controls. Without it, the calculations would require thousands of CPU cores and considerable time. Various studies to accelerate simulations are ongoing, with the ultimate goal of developing a fusion simulator capable of the tremendous volume of repetitive calculations necessary for engineering design.   V-DEMO will need to integrate simulations from various fusion areas and therefore will need to develop an integrated platform. Fusion societies worldwide are working on simulation software integration frameworks. One of the most promising projects is the ITER-IMAS framework, which is currently under development for ITER. V-DEMO should expand its technological base to include plant features based on ITER-IMAS. Digital twin is a technology that can be used to virtualize machines and facilities, using machine design data, and is considered the basis upon which simulation software and integrated framework can be deployed. For fusion, “Virtual KSTAR” is being developed to perform virtual experiments that combine KSTAR design, experimental data, and heating simulations. The technology developed through KSTAR will be applied to ITER in the near future, to pave the way for V-DEMO development. Roadmap for V-DEMO development Presently, various technological developments including simulations, virtualization, supercomputers, and machine learning are needed for V-DEMO development. In this planning study, a total of five technology groups were identified as the key technologies for V-DEMO: (i) tokamak simulation group, (ii) blanket-BOP simulation group, (iii) accelerated fusion simulation group, (iv) enabling technology group, and (v) fusion big data group. The development plans and strategies for each group were also established. Roadmap for V-DEMO project V-DEMO development will go through four stages by the year 2040. In the first stage, simulation and virtualization of a middle-sized tokamak such as KSTAR will be carried out. In the beginning, technology verification using KSTAR data will be the key objective. In the second stage, the technologies from the first stage will be further developed for ITER, and simulation acceleration using artificial intelligence will begin. In the third stage, blanket and BOP simulation technology development will be performed in collaboration with the nuclear energy community. In the final stage, V-DEMO will be completed, integrating the K-DEMO design data. Verification and optimization of a demonstration plant will be carried out utilizing V-DEMO. Plan for experimental validations and key development targets in each phase Fusion research in Korea has been ongoing for the last two decades, focusing on KSTAR and ITER. Now, another leap is needed to accomplish a demonstration of fusion technology. Alongside hardware technological achievements, another foundation for the fusion demonstration should be established, by proactively developing fusion simulation technologies, including V-DEMO.  For more KFE NEWS: KFE NEWS vol. 30  - KSTAR's 30,000th shot  - AAPPS-DPP Young Researcher Award winner in KFE, Dr. Sanghoo Park  
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(photo) left: vacuum vessel after complete assembly / right: vacuum vessel in delivery unit The second sector of the vacuum vessel has shipped for France where it will serve as one of the key components of the ITER.  The vacuum vessel is where the high vacuum environment is created, to discharge and maintain the super-hot plasma whose temperature is over one million degrees. The ITER’s vacuum vessel consists of nine sectors, and each of them is 11.3 meters tall, 6.6 meters wide and weighs approximately 400 tons. When assembled all together in a doughnut-like shape, this monumental structure weighs around 5,000 tons. Korea is in charge of procuring four of the vacuum vessel sectors out of the nine, and completed and delivered the first sector (sector no. 6) in 2020. Previous experience with the first sector production helped in making this second sector (sector no. 7). The second sector took only 75 months to accomplish, which was 25% faster than the 101 months needed to produce the first sector.  Once the second sector arrives, the very heart of the ITER structure will start to be assembled – the assembly of the tokamak. First the “sector sub-assembly” will be completed by attaching one thermal shield and two TF superconducting magnets outside the vacuum vessel. Then each of the “sector sub-assemblies” will be connected in a circle like a doughnut. That is why the delivery of the second sector is necessary before the assembly can actually begin.   The shipment will arrive at Marseille-Fos Port in the end of July and will finally arrive at the ITER site at the end of August by land and canal. Now only two sectors remain to be produced by Korea. The two sectors will be delivered to the ITER site by 2022. “We are pleased to have the second sector shipped safely to France, despite the unexpected difficulties we had, such as the Suez Canal accident. We will stay alert for any incidents that may happen until it finally arrives at ITER,” said Hyunsoo Kim, the team leader of the Vacuum Vessel Tech Team of ITER KODA. ITER KODA Director-General Kijung Jung added, ”ITER KODA and Korean industries are collaborating and focusing their capabilities to meet the strict quality standards, as well as the deadline. We will do our best to successfully complete the remaining two vacuum vessels for the ITER construction.” For more KFE NEWS: KFE NEWS vol. 29  - The 2nd vacuum vessel departs for ITER  - Participation in the first online FEC2020  - KFE hosted HWS-15  - KFE and HFIPS sign research agreement for tritium breeding
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         (Photo: Dr. Minjun J Choi and his article in Nature Communications) Dr. Minjun J Choi of the KSTAR Research Center of KFE has successfully proven the direct effects of plasma turbulence on magnetic islands. The findings, from a collaborative investigation involving researchers from Korea and the United States, were published in Nature Communications in January. “This research is the reverse of a previous study that revealed the effect of magnetic islands on the distribution and development of background turbulence. This time, we analyzed how background turbulence affects the evolution of magnetic islands. Based on this work, we expect to be able to weaken or redistribute the turbulence near magnetic islands, to prevent or alleviate plasma disruption," explained Dr. Choi, who was first author of the paper. A magnetic island is an island-like magnetic structure that is created in a plasma by a magnetic field reconnection, due to plasma instabilities. It can degrade tokamak performance by interfering with its magnetic confinement or can even cause plasma disruption. Understanding its effect and behavior has been one of the most difficult conundrums to solve in fusion research, and doing so is essential to realizing fusion energy. Several projects were being carried out on multiple fusion devices to address the problem. Dr. Choi focused his efforts on the interactions between magnetic islands and background plasma turbulence. The collaborative research team successfully proved by experiments on KSTAR that turbulence directly influenced magnetic islands to evolve by turbulence spreading or magnetic reconnection acceleration. Contributing researchers include Dr. Laszlo Bardoczi (General Atomics, US), Dr. George McKee (General Atomics, US), Professor T. S. Hahm (SNU, Korea), Professor Hyeon K. Park (UNIST, Korea), Professor Eisung Yoon (UNIST, Korea), and Professor Gunsu S. Yun (POSTECH, Korea). Multiple physics models have emerged to explain how plasma turbulence affects the evolution of magnetic islands, though few have been supported by actual experiments. Recent studies have suspected that turbulence spreading was suppressing the magnetic islands, but verifying it experimentally was difficult. The advanced diagnostics of KSTAR allowed the team to observe the turbulence as it spread from the outside of the magnetic islands to the inside. They were also able to witness turbulence enhancement at the reconnection site in the event of a fast collapse of a magnetic island. The findings provide a solid explanation of the main plasma phenomena necessary to realize fusion power. The researchers expect to contribute to future fusion reactor operations by advising how to suppress the magnetic islands causing plasma disruption. Related publication: Effects of plasma turbulence on the nonlinear evolution of magnetic island in tokamak For more KFE NEWS: KFE NEWS vol. 28
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The ITER Organization will host a 2-day Remote ITER Business Meeting presenting thecoming business opportunities, and the latest highlights of the Project on Wednesday 7 andThursday 8 April 2021.  In this virtual meeting, the ITER Organization presents the coming business opportunities. With six thematic sessions, experts from different areas give specific information about contracts and procurement needs in the next coming years. 1. Name of event: Remote ITER Business Meeting 2. Object: provide specific information about contracts and procurement needs in the next coming years 3. Date of event: 7-8 April 2021 4. Program  - Update of the ITER Project Status by Director General  - Procurement and Contract News  - Thematic sessions by ITER technical experts giving overview on coming business opportunities  - One-to-One meetings between interested companies and ITER experts  - Possibility to arrange Business-to-Business with other companies 5. Registration Period: 20 January - 6 April 2021 6. Linka: https://www.iter.org/ribm2021

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