During the first two years of the LHD experiment the following results have been achieved: (i) higher Te (T e (0) = 4.4 keV at 〈n e 〉 = 5.3 × 10 18 m -3 and P abs = 1.8 MW); (ii) higher confinement (τ E = 0.3 s, Te(0) = 1.1 kev at 〈n e 〉 = 6.5 × 10 19 m -3 and P abs = 2.0 MW); (iii) higher stored energy, W p dia = 880 kJ at B = 2.75 T. High performance plasmas have been realized in the inward shifted magnetic axis configuration (R = 3.6 m) where helical symmetry is recovered and the particle orbit properties are improved by a trade-off of MHD stability properties due to the appearance of a magnetic hill. Energy confinement was systematically higher than that predicted by the International Stellarator Scaling 95 by up to a factor of 1.6 and was comparable with the ELMy H mode confinement capability in tokamaks. This confinement improvement is attributed to configuration control (inward shift of the magnetic axis) and to the formation of a high edge temperature. The average beta value achieved reached 2.4% at B = 1.3 T, the highest beta value ever obtained in a helical device, and so far no degradation of confinement by MHD phenomena has been observed. The inward shifted configuration has also led to successful ICRF minority ion heating. ICRF powers up to 1.3 MW were reliably injected into the plasma without significant impurity contamination, and a plasma with a stored energy of 200 kJ was sustained for 5 s by ICRF alone. As another important result, long pulse discharges of more than 1 rain were successfully achieved separately with an NBI heating of 0.5 MW and with an ICRF heating of 0.85 MW.
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