Volume 22, Issue 2, February 2015
Index of content:
- SPECIAL TOPIC: ITER PHYSICS
Progress on ion cyclotron range of frequencies heating physics and technology in support of the International Tokamak Experimental Reactor22(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4901090View Description Hide Description
Ion cyclotron range of frequency (ICRF) heating is foreseen as an integral component of the initial ITER operation. The status of ICRF preparations for ITER and supporting research were updated in the 2007 [Gormezano et al., Nucl. Fusion 47, S285 (2007)] report on the ITER physics basis. In this report, we summarize progress made toward the successful application of ICRF power on ITER since that time. Significant advances have been made in support of the technical design by development of new techniques for arc protection, new algorithms for tuning and matching, carrying out experimental tests of more ITER like antennas and demonstration on mockups that the design assumptions are correct. In addition, new applications of the ICRF system, beyond just bulk heating, have been proposed and explored.
22(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4901251View Description Hide Description
An overview of the present status of research toward the final design of the ITER disruption mitigation system (DMS) is given. The ITER DMS is based on massive injection of impurities, in order to radiate the plasma stored energy and mitigate the potentially damaging effects of disruptions. The design of this system will be extremely challenging due to many physics and engineering constraints such as limitations on port access and the amount and species of injected impurities. Additionally, many physics questions relevant to the design of the ITER disruption mitigation system remain unsolved such as the mechanisms for mixing and assimilation of injected impurities during the rapid shutdown and the mechanisms for the subsequent formation and dissipation of runaway electron current.
22(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4902126View Description Hide Description
Externally applied, non-axisymmetric magnetic fields form the basis of several relatively simple and direct methods to control magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) instabilities in a tokamak, and most present and planned tokamaks now include a set of non-axisymmetric control coils for application of fields with low toroidal mode numbers. Non-axisymmetric applied fields are routinely used to compensate small asymmetries ( to ) of the nominally axisymmetric field, which otherwise can lead to instabilities through braking of plasma rotation and through direct stimulus of tearing modes or kink modes. This compensation may be feedback-controlled, based on the magnetic response of the plasma to the external fields. Non-axisymmetric fields are used for direct magnetic stabilization of the resistive wall mode—a kink instability with a growth rate slow enough that feedback control is practical. Saturated magnetic islands are also manipulated directly with non-axisymmetric fields, in order to unlock them from the wall and spin them to aid stabilization, or position them for suppression by localized current drive. Several recent scientific advances form the foundation of these developments in the control of instabilities. Most fundamental is the understanding that stable kink modes play a crucial role in the coupling of non-axisymmetric fields to the plasma, determining which field configurations couple most strongly, how the coupling depends on plasma conditions, and whether external asymmetries are amplified by the plasma. A major advance for the physics of high-beta plasmas ( = plasma pressure/magnetic field pressure) has been the understanding that drift-kinetic resonances can stabilize the resistive wall mode at pressures well above the ideal-MHD stability limit, but also that such discharges can be very sensitive to external asymmetries. The common physics of stable kink modes has brought significant unification to the topics of static error fields at low beta and resistive wall modes at high beta. These and other scientific advances, and their application to control of MHD instabilities, will be reviewed with emphasis on the most recent results and their applicability to ITER.
Progress in preparing scenarios for operation of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor22(2015); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4904015View Description Hide Description
The development of operating scenarios is one of the key issues in the research for ITER which aims to achieve a fusion gain (Q) of ∼10, while producing 500 MW of fusion power for ≥300 s. The ITER Research plan proposes a success oriented schedule starting in hydrogen and helium, to be followed by a nuclear operation phase with a rapid development towards Q ∼ 10 in deuterium/tritium. The Integrated Operation Scenarios Topical Group of the International Tokamak Physics Activity initiates joint activities among worldwide institutions and experiments to prepare ITER operation. Plasma formation studies report robust plasma breakdown in devices with metal walls over a wide range of conditions, while other experiments use an inclined EC launch angle at plasma formation to mimic the conditions in ITER. Simulations of the plasma burn-through predict that at least 4 MW of Electron Cyclotron heating (EC) assist would be required in ITER. For H-modes at q95 ∼ 3, many experiments have demonstrated operation with scaled parameters for the ITER baseline scenario at ne/nGW ∼ 0.85. Most experiments, however, obtain stable discharges at H98(y,2) ∼ 1.0 only for βN = 2.0–2.2. For the rampup in ITER, early X-point formation is recommended, allowing auxiliary heating to reduce the flux consumption. A range of plasma inductance (li(3)) can be obtained from 0.65 to 1.0, with the lowest values obtained in H-mode operation. For the rampdown, the plasma should stay diverted maintaining H-mode together with a reduction of the elongation from 1.85 to 1.4. Simulations show that the proposed rampup and rampdown schemes developed since 2007 are compatible with the present ITER design for the poloidal field coils. At 13–15 MA and densities down to ne/nGW ∼ 0.5, long pulse operation (>1000 s) in ITER is possible at Q ∼ 5, useful to provide neutron fluence for Test Blanket Module assessments. ITER scenario preparation in hydrogen and helium requires high input power (>50 MW). H-mode operation in helium may be possible at input powers above 35 MW at a toroidal field of 2.65 T, for studying H-modes and ELM mitigation. In hydrogen, H-mode operation is expected to be marginal, even at 2.65 T with 60 MW of input power. Simulation code benchmark studies using hybrid and steady state scenario parameters have proved to be a very challenging and lengthy task of testing suites of codes, consisting of tens of sophisticated modules. Nevertheless, the general basis of the modelling appears sound, with substantial consistency among codes developed by different groups. For a hybrid scenario at 12 MA, the code simulations give a range for Q = 6.5–8.3, using 30 MW neutral beam injection and 20 MW ICRH. For non-inductive operation at 7–9 MA, the simulation results show more variation. At high edge pedestal pressure (Tped ∼ 7 keV), the codes predict Q = 3.3–3.8 using 33 MW NB, 20 MW EC, and 20 MW ion cyclotron to demonstrate the feasibility of steady-state operation with the day-1 heating systems in ITER. Simulations using a lower edge pedestal temperature (∼3 keV) but improved core confinement obtain Q = 5–6.5, when ECCD is concentrated at mid-radius and ∼20 MW off-axis current drive (ECCD or LHCD) is added. Several issues remain to be studied, including plasmas with dominant electron heating, mitigation of transient heat loads integrated in scenario demonstrations and (burn) control simulations in ITER scenarios.