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This paper compares several medium-voltage power conversion systems for plasma torch application. The thermal plasma torch rated for 3 MW, 2 kA with the physical size of 1 m long is selected. The dynamic characteristics of the dc arc in a plasma torch are investigated using advanced 3-D magnetohydrodynamics simulation. The arc voltage noise of plusmn10% due to the periodic pressure wave is modeled as a sawtooth waveform in arc power loss term. The parameters of the Cassie-Mayr arc model are calculated based on 3-D simulation. A 12-pulse thyristor rectifier and two-phase staggered three-level step-down dc-dc converter having 12-pulse front-end diode rectifier are compared under the same dynamic operating condition. The three-level dc-dc converter has superior dynamic performance over the 12-pulse thyristor rectifier under the existence of arc disturbance noise. This power converter topology provides higher ignition voltage around 5 kV during ignition phase and higher arc stability.