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Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research
Device typeTokamak
LocationDaejeon, South Korea
AffiliationKorea Institute of Fusion Energy
Technical specifications
Major radius1.8 m (5 ft 11 in)
Minor radius0.5 m (1 ft 8 in)
Magnetic field3.5 T (35,000 G)
Heating power14 MW
Plasma currentMA
Date(s) of construction14 September 2007
Year(s) of operation2008–present

The KSTAR (or Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research; Korean: 초전도 핵융합연구장치, literally "superconducting nuclear fusion research device")[1] is a magnetic fusion device at the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy in Daejeon, South Korea. It is intended to study aspects of magnetic fusion energy that will be pertinent to the ITER fusion project as part of that country's contribution to the ITER effort. The project was approved in 1995, but construction was delayed by the East Asian financial crisis, which weakened the South Korean economy considerably; however, the project's construction phase was completed on September 14, 2007. The first plasma was achieved in June 2008.[2][3]


KSTAR is one of the first research tokamaks in the world to feature fully superconducting magnets, which again will be of great relevance to ITER as this will also use superconducting magnets. The KSTAR magnet system consists of 16 niobiumtin direct current toroidal field magnets, 10 niobiumtin alternating current poloidal field magnets and 4 niobium-titanium alternating current poloidal field magnets. It is planned that the reactor will study plasma pulses of up to 20 seconds duration until 2011 when it will be upgraded to study pulses of up to 300 seconds duration. The reactor vessel will have a major radius of 1.8 m, a minor radius of 0.5 m, a maximum toroidal field of 3.5 Tesla, and a maximum plasma current of 2 megaampere. As with other tokamaks, heating and current drive will be initiated using neutral beam injection, ion cyclotron resonance heating (ICRH), radio frequency heating, and electron cyclotron resonance heating (ECRH). Initial heating power will be 8 megawatt from neutral beam injection upgradeable to 24 MW, 6 MW from ICRH upgradeable to 12 MW, and at present undetermined heating power from ECRH and RF heating. The experiment will use both hydrogen and deuterium fuels but not the deuterium-tritium mix which will be studied in ITER.

Plasma confinement[edit]

Beginning in December 2016, KSTAR would repeatedly hold the world record (longest high-confinement mode) by confining and maintaining a hydrogen plasma at a higher temperature and for a longer time than any other reactor. While KSTAR focuses on central ion plasma temperature, EAST focuses on electron plasma temperature.[4]

  • December 2016, KSTAR claims record by containing a plasma at 50 million degrees Celsius for 70 seconds.[5][6]
  • July 2017, China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) (101.2 seconds) claims record by containing a plasma for 100 seconds.[7]
  • December 2020, KSTAR reclaimed the record by containing a plasma of 100 million degrees for 20 seconds.[8]
  • May 2021, China's EAST reclaimed the record by containing a plasma of 120 million degrees for 100 seconds.[9]


The design was based on Tokamak Physics Experiment, which was based on Compact Ignition Tokamak design – See Robert J. Goldston.

  • 1995 – Started Project KSTAR
  • 1997 – JET of EU emits 17 MW energy from itself.
  • 1998 – JT-60U went beyond energy junction successfully and acknowledged the possibility of commercialization of nuclear fusion.
  • 2006 – Life span of three Fusion Reactors (JT-60U, JET, and DIII-D) are terminated.
  • 2007, September – KSTAR's major devices are constructed.
  • 2008, July – First plasma occurred. Maintenance time: 0.865 seconds, Temperature: 2×106 K
  • 2009 – Maintained 320,000A plasma for 3.6 seconds.
  • 2010, November – First H-mode plasma run.[10]
  • 2011 – Maintained high-temperature plasma for 5.2 seconds, Temperature: ~50×106 K, successfully fully deterred ELM (Edge-Localized Mode), first ever in the World.
  • 2012 – Maintained high-temperature plasma for 17 seconds, Temperature: 50×106 K
  • 2013 – Maintained high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds, Temperature: 50×106 K
  • 2014 – Maintained high-temperature plasma for 45 seconds, and successfully fully deterred ELM for 5 seconds.
  • 2015 – Maintained high-temperature plasma for 55 seconds, Temperature: 50×106 K
  • 2016 – Maintained high-temperature plasma for 70 seconds, Temperature: 50×106 K, and successfully made ITB-mode for 7 secs.[11]
  • 2017 – Maintained high-temperature plasma for 72 seconds, Temperature: 70×106 K, and successfully fully deterred ELM for 34 seconds, using 9.5 MW heating system.
  • 2019 – Maintained high-temperature plasma for 1.5 seconds, Temperature: >100×106 K.
  • 2020, March – Maintained high-temperature plasma for 8 seconds, Temperature: >100×106 K (Mean temperature: >97×106 K)[12]
  • 2020, November – Maintained high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds, Temperature: >100×106 K.[13]
  • 2021, November – Maintained high-temperature plasma for 30 seconds, Temperature: >100×106 K.[14]
  • 2022, September – Maintained temperature 7 times hotter than the Sun for 30 seconds, Temperature: >100×106 K.[15]
  • 2024, February – Maintained temperature 7 times hotter than the Sun for 48 seconds, Temperature: >100×106 K.[16]


  1. ^ "KSTAR | 국가핵융합연구소". www.nfri.re.kr (in Korean). Archived from the original on 2020-08-10. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  2. ^ "www.knfp.net". October 23, 2015. Archived from the original on 2015-10-23.
  3. ^ "KSTAR celebrates first plasma". ITER. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  4. ^ "중국 "인공태양 1억2000만도 101초 유지 성공"...앞선 한국 기록과 단순 비교는 어려워". Donga Science. 1 Jun 2021.
  5. ^ "Korean fusion reactor achieves record plasma - World Nuclear News". www.world-nuclear-news.org. 14 Dec 2016. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  6. ^ Andrews, Robin (19 Dec 2016). "South Korea Just Set A Nuclear Fusion World Record". IFLScience. Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  7. ^ Chinese Academy of Sciences (6 Jul 2017). "China's 'artificial sun' sets world record with 100 second steady-state high performance plasma". Retrieved 2018-09-18.
  8. ^ "Korean artificial sun sets the new world record of 20-sec-long operation at 100 million degrees". phys.org.
  9. ^ "China's "Artificial Sun" Fusion Reactor Just Set a World Record". Futurism.
  10. ^ "First H-mode plasma achieved on KSTAR". Archived from the original on 2015-01-23. Retrieved 2015-01-23.
  11. ^ "News | KOREA INSTITUTE OF FUSION ENERGY". NFRI News. 14 December 2016. Archived from the original on 2017-04-16.
  12. ^ "한국형 인공태양, 섭씨 1억도 플라스마 8초 운전 성공 – Sciencetimes" (in Korean). Retrieved 2020-11-28.
  13. ^ "Korean artificial sun sets the new world record of 20-sec-long operation at 100 million degrees". phys.org. Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  14. ^ Lavars, Nick (2021-11-24). "KSTAR fusion reactor sets record with 30-second plasma confinement". New Atlas. Retrieved 2021-11-24.
  15. ^ "This Fusion Reactor Hit Temps 7 Times Hotter Than the Sun for 30 Seconds". Popular Mechanics. 2022-09-13. Retrieved 2022-09-15.
  16. ^ McFadden, Christopher (29 March 2024). "South Korean 'artificial sun' reaches 7 times the Sun's core temperature". Interesting Engineering. Retrieved 30 March 2024.

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