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Title: Stability and Control of Burning Tokamak Plasmas with Resistive Walls: Final Technical Report

Abstract

This project is focused on theoretical and computational development for quantitative prediction of the stability and control of the equilibrium state evolution in toroidal burning plasmas, including its interaction with the surrounding resistive wall. The stability of long pulse burning plasmas is highly sensitive to the physics of resonant layers in the plasma, sources of momentum and flow, kinetic effects of energetic particles, and boundary conditions at the wall, including feedback control and error fields. In ITER in particular, the low toroidal flow equilibrium state, sustained primarily by energetic alpha particles from fusion reactions, will require the consideration of all of these key elements to predict quantitatively the stability and evolution. The principal investigators on this project have performed theoretical and computational analyses, guided by analytic modeling, to address this physics in realistic configurations. The overall goal has been to understand the key physics mechanisms that describe stable toroidal burning plasmas under active feedback control. Several relevant achievements have occurred during this project, leading to publications and invited conference presentations. In theoretical efforts, with the physics of the resonant layers, resistive wall, and toroidal momentum transport included, this study has extended from cylindrical resistive plasma - resistive wall models withmore » feedback control to toroidal geometry with strong shaping to study mode coupling effects on the stability. These results have given insight into combined tearing and resistive wall mode behavior in simulations and experiment, while enabling a rapid exploration of plasma parameter space, to identify possible domains of interest for large plasma codes to investigate in more detail. Resonant field amplification and quasilinear torques in the presence of error fields and velocity shear have also been investigated. Here it was found, surprisingly, that the Maxwell torque on resonant layers in the plasma which exhibit finite real frequencies ωr in their response is significantly different from the conventional results based on tearing layers with pure real growth (or damping) rates. This observation suggests the possibility that the torque on the tearing layers can lock the plasma rotation to this finite phase velocity, which may lead to locking in which velocity shear is maintained. More broadly, the sources of all torques driving flows in magnetic confinement experiments is not fully understood, and this theoretical work may shed light on puzzling experimental results. It was also found that real frequencies occur over a wide range of plasma response regimes, and are indeed the norm and not the exception, often leading to profound effects on the locking torque. Also, the influence of trapped energetic ions orbiting over the resistive plasma mode structure, a critical effect in burning plasmas, was investigated through analytic modeling and analysis of simulations and experiment. This effort has shown that energetic ions can drive the development of disruptive instabilities, but also damp and stabilize the instabilities, depending on the details of the shear in the equilibrium magnetic field. This finding could be critical to maintaining stable operations in burning plasmas. In the most recent work, a series of simulations have been conducted to study the effect of differential flow and energetic ion effects on entry to the onset of a disruptive instability in the most realistic conditions possible, with preexisting nonlinearly saturated benign instabilities. Throughout this work, the linear and quasilinear theory of resonant layers with differential flow between them, their interaction with resistive wall and error fields, and energetic ions effects, have been used to understand realistic simulations of mode onset and the experimental discharges they represent. These studies will continue to answer remaining questions about the relation between theoretical results obtained in this project and observations of the onset and evolution of disruptive instabilities in experiment.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4]
  1. Univ. of Tulsa, OK (United States)
  2. Princeton Univ., NJ (United States)
  3. Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States)
  4. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Tulsa, OK (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1395844
Report Number(s):
DOE-TULSA-13958
DOE Contract Number:  
SC0013958
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; 71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; 72 PHYSICS OF ELEMENTARY PARTICLES AND FIELDS; 73 NUCLEAR PHYSICS AND RADIATION PHYSICS; 74 ATOMIC AND MOLECULAR PHYSICS; 75 CONDENSED MATTER PHYSICS, SUPERCONDUCTIVITY AND SUPERFLUIDITY; 77 NANOSCIENCE AND NANOTECHNOLOGY; 79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; 96 KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT AND PRESERVATION; 97 MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTING; 98 NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT, SAFEGUARDS, AND PHYSICAL PROTECTION; Plasma Confinement Turbulence Stability Transport Theory; Simulation Computation

Citation Formats

Miller, George, Brennan, Dylan, Cole, Andrew, and Finn, John. Stability and Control of Burning Tokamak Plasmas with Resistive Walls: Final Technical Report. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1395844.
Miller, George, Brennan, Dylan, Cole, Andrew, & Finn, John. Stability and Control of Burning Tokamak Plasmas with Resistive Walls: Final Technical Report. United States. doi:10.2172/1395844.
Miller, George, Brennan, Dylan, Cole, Andrew, and Finn, John. Mon . "Stability and Control of Burning Tokamak Plasmas with Resistive Walls: Final Technical Report". United States. doi:10.2172/1395844. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1395844.
@article{osti_1395844,
title = {Stability and Control of Burning Tokamak Plasmas with Resistive Walls: Final Technical Report},
author = {Miller, George and Brennan, Dylan and Cole, Andrew and Finn, John},
abstractNote = {This project is focused on theoretical and computational development for quantitative prediction of the stability and control of the equilibrium state evolution in toroidal burning plasmas, including its interaction with the surrounding resistive wall. The stability of long pulse burning plasmas is highly sensitive to the physics of resonant layers in the plasma, sources of momentum and flow, kinetic effects of energetic particles, and boundary conditions at the wall, including feedback control and error fields. In ITER in particular, the low toroidal flow equilibrium state, sustained primarily by energetic alpha particles from fusion reactions, will require the consideration of all of these key elements to predict quantitatively the stability and evolution. The principal investigators on this project have performed theoretical and computational analyses, guided by analytic modeling, to address this physics in realistic configurations. The overall goal has been to understand the key physics mechanisms that describe stable toroidal burning plasmas under active feedback control. Several relevant achievements have occurred during this project, leading to publications and invited conference presentations. In theoretical efforts, with the physics of the resonant layers, resistive wall, and toroidal momentum transport included, this study has extended from cylindrical resistive plasma - resistive wall models with feedback control to toroidal geometry with strong shaping to study mode coupling effects on the stability. These results have given insight into combined tearing and resistive wall mode behavior in simulations and experiment, while enabling a rapid exploration of plasma parameter space, to identify possible domains of interest for large plasma codes to investigate in more detail. Resonant field amplification and quasilinear torques in the presence of error fields and velocity shear have also been investigated. Here it was found, surprisingly, that the Maxwell torque on resonant layers in the plasma which exhibit finite real frequencies ωr in their response is significantly different from the conventional results based on tearing layers with pure real growth (or damping) rates. This observation suggests the possibility that the torque on the tearing layers can lock the plasma rotation to this finite phase velocity, which may lead to locking in which velocity shear is maintained. More broadly, the sources of all torques driving flows in magnetic confinement experiments is not fully understood, and this theoretical work may shed light on puzzling experimental results. It was also found that real frequencies occur over a wide range of plasma response regimes, and are indeed the norm and not the exception, often leading to profound effects on the locking torque. Also, the influence of trapped energetic ions orbiting over the resistive plasma mode structure, a critical effect in burning plasmas, was investigated through analytic modeling and analysis of simulations and experiment. This effort has shown that energetic ions can drive the development of disruptive instabilities, but also damp and stabilize the instabilities, depending on the details of the shear in the equilibrium magnetic field. This finding could be critical to maintaining stable operations in burning plasmas. In the most recent work, a series of simulations have been conducted to study the effect of differential flow and energetic ion effects on entry to the onset of a disruptive instability in the most realistic conditions possible, with preexisting nonlinearly saturated benign instabilities. Throughout this work, the linear and quasilinear theory of resonant layers with differential flow between them, their interaction with resistive wall and error fields, and energetic ions effects, have been used to understand realistic simulations of mode onset and the experimental discharges they represent. These studies will continue to answer remaining questions about the relation between theoretical results obtained in this project and observations of the onset and evolution of disruptive instabilities in experiment.},
doi = {10.2172/1395844},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Oct 02 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Mon Oct 02 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

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