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Title: DIII-D research advancing the scientific basis for burning plasmas and fusion energy

Abstract

The DIII-D tokamak has addressed key issues to advance the physics basis for ITER and future steady-state fusion devices. In work related to transient control, magnetic probing is used to identify a decrease in ideal stability, providing a basis for active instability sensing. Improved understanding of 3D interactions is emerging, with RMP-ELM suppression correlated with exciting an edge current driven mode. Should rapid plasma termination be necessary, shattered neon pellet injection has been shown to be tunable to adjust radiation and current quench rate. For predictive simulations, reduced transport models such as TGLF have reproduced changes in confinement associated with electron heating. A new wide- pedestal variant of QH-mode has been discovered where increased edge transport is found to allow higher pedestal pressure. New dimensionless scaling experiments suggest an intrinsic torque comparable to the beam-driven torque on ITER. In steady-state-related research, complete ELM suppression has been achieved that is relatively insensitive to q 95, having a weak effect on the pedestal. Both high-q min and hybrid steady-state plasmas have avoided fast ion instabilities and achieved increased performance by control of the fast ion pressure gradient and magnetic shear, and use of external control tools such as ECH. In the boundary,more » experiments have demonstrated the impact of E × B drifts on divertor detachment and divertor asymmetries. Measurements in helium plasmas have found that the radiation shortfall can be eliminated provided the density near the X-point is used as a constraint in the modeling. Experiments conducted with toroidal rings of tungsten in the divertor have indicated that control of the strike-point flux is important for limiting the core contamination. In conclusion, future improvements are planned to the facility to advance physics issues related to the boundary, transients and high performance steady-state operation.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. General Atomics, San Diego, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
General Atomics, San Diego, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1398776
Grant/Contract Number:
FC02-04ER54698
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nuclear Fusion
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 57; Journal Issue: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5515
Publisher:
IOP Science
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; fusion; plasma; tokamak; energy; DIII-D

Citation Formats

Solomon, Wayne M. DIII-D research advancing the scientific basis for burning plasmas and fusion energy. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1088/1741-4326/aa7703.
Solomon, Wayne M. DIII-D research advancing the scientific basis for burning plasmas and fusion energy. United States. doi:10.1088/1741-4326/aa7703.
Solomon, Wayne M. 2017. "DIII-D research advancing the scientific basis for burning plasmas and fusion energy". United States. doi:10.1088/1741-4326/aa7703.
@article{osti_1398776,
title = {DIII-D research advancing the scientific basis for burning plasmas and fusion energy},
author = {Solomon, Wayne M.},
abstractNote = {The DIII-D tokamak has addressed key issues to advance the physics basis for ITER and future steady-state fusion devices. In work related to transient control, magnetic probing is used to identify a decrease in ideal stability, providing a basis for active instability sensing. Improved understanding of 3D interactions is emerging, with RMP-ELM suppression correlated with exciting an edge current driven mode. Should rapid plasma termination be necessary, shattered neon pellet injection has been shown to be tunable to adjust radiation and current quench rate. For predictive simulations, reduced transport models such as TGLF have reproduced changes in confinement associated with electron heating. A new wide- pedestal variant of QH-mode has been discovered where increased edge transport is found to allow higher pedestal pressure. New dimensionless scaling experiments suggest an intrinsic torque comparable to the beam-driven torque on ITER. In steady-state-related research, complete ELM suppression has been achieved that is relatively insensitive to q95, having a weak effect on the pedestal. Both high-qmin and hybrid steady-state plasmas have avoided fast ion instabilities and achieved increased performance by control of the fast ion pressure gradient and magnetic shear, and use of external control tools such as ECH. In the boundary, experiments have demonstrated the impact of E × B drifts on divertor detachment and divertor asymmetries. Measurements in helium plasmas have found that the radiation shortfall can be eliminated provided the density near the X-point is used as a constraint in the modeling. Experiments conducted with toroidal rings of tungsten in the divertor have indicated that control of the strike-point flux is important for limiting the core contamination. In conclusion, future improvements are planned to the facility to advance physics issues related to the boundary, transients and high performance steady-state operation.},
doi = {10.1088/1741-4326/aa7703},
journal = {Nuclear Fusion},
number = 10,
volume = 57,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 7
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
This content will become publicly available on July 12, 2018
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  • This article is a response to the Office of Energy Research of the US DOE from the Fusion Energy Advisory Committee on a review of major US magnetic confinement facilities. This response was solicited in response to one of the suggestions made as part of the advisory report `A Restructured Fusion Energy Sciences Program` submitted to the US DOE in early 1996.
  • DIII-D has made significant advances in the scientific basis for fusion energy. The physics mechanism of resonant magnetic perturbation (RMP) edge localized mode (ELM) suppression is revealed as field penetration at the pedestal top, and reduced coil set operation was demonstrated. Disruption runaway electrons were effectively quenched by shattered pellets; runaway dissipation is explained by pitch angle scattering. Modest thermal quench radiation asymmetries are well described NIMROD modeling. With good pedestal regulation and error field correction, low torque ITER baselines have been demonstrated and shown to be compatible with an ITER test blanket module simulator. However performance and long wavelengthmore » turbulence degrade as low rotation and electron heating are approached. The alternative QH mode scenario is shown to be compatible with high Greenwald density fraction, with an edge harmonic oscillation demonstrating good impurity flushing. Discharge optimization guided by the EPED model has discovered a new super H-mode with doubled pedestal height. Lithium injection also led to wider, higher pedestals. On the path to steady state, 1 MA has been sustained fully non inductively with β N = 4 and RMP ELM suppression, while a peaked current profile scenario provides attractive options for ITER and a β N = 5 future reactor. Energetic particle transport is found to exhibit a critical gradient behavior. Scenarios are shown to be compatible with radiative and snowflake diverter techniques. Physics studies reveal that the transition to H mode is locked in by a rise in ion diamagnetic flows. Intrinsic rotation in the plasma edge is demonstrated to arise from kinetic losses. New 3D magnetic sensors validate linear ideal MHD, but identify issues in nonlinear simulations. Detachment, characterized in 2D with sub-eV resolution, reveals a radiation shortfall in simulations. As a result, future facility development targets burning plasma physics with torque free electron heating, the path to steady state with increased off axis currents, and a new divertor solution for fusion reactors.« less
  • Electron cyclotron emission (ECE) imaging is a passive radiometric technique that measures electron temperature fluctuations; and microwave imaging reflectometry (MIR) is an active radar imaging technique that measures electron density fluctuations. The microwave imaging diagnostic instruments employing these techniques have made important contributions to fusion science and have been adopted at major fusion facilities worldwide including DIII-D, EAST, ASDEX Upgrade, HL-2A, KSTAR, LHD, and J-TEXT. In this paper, we describe the development status of three major technological advancements: custom mm-wave integrated circuits (ICs), digital beamforming (DBF), and synthetic diagnostic modeling (SDM). These also have the potential to greatly advance microwavemore » fusion plasma imaging, enabling compact and low-noise transceiver systems with real-time, fast tracking ability to address critical fusion physics issues, including ELM suppression and disruptions in the ITER baseline scenario, naturally ELM-free states such as QH-mode, and energetic particle confinement (i.e. Alfven eigenmode stability) in high-performance regimes that include steady-state and advanced tokamak scenarios. Furthermore, these systems are fully compatible with today's most challenging non-inductive heating and current drive systems and capable of operating in harsh environments, making them the ideal approach for diagnosing long-pulse and steady-state tokamaks.« less
  • Here, recent experiments in DIII-D have led to the discovery of a means of modifying edge turbulence to achieve stationary, high confinement operation without Edge Localized Mode (ELM) instabilities and with no net external torque input. Eliminating the ELM-induced heat bursts and controlling plasma stability at low rotation represent two of the great challenges for fusion energy. By exploiting edge turbulence in a novel manner, we achieved excellent tokamak performance, well above the H 98y2 international tokamak energy confinement scaling (H 98y2=1.25), thus meeting an additional confinement challenge that is usually difficult at low torque. The new regime is triggeredmore » in double null plasmas by ramping the injected torque to zero and then maintaining it there. This lowers ExB rotation shear in the plasma edge, allowing low-k, broadband, electromagnetic turbulence to increase. In the H-mode edge, a narrow transport barrier usually grows until MHD instability (a peeling ballooning mode) leads to the ELM heat burst. However, the increased turbulence reduces the pressure gradient, allowing the development of a broader and thus higher transport barrier. A 60% increase in pedestal pressure and 40% increase in energy confinement result. An increase in the ExB shearing rate inside of the edge pedestal is a key factor in the confinement increase. Strong double-null plasma shaping raises the threshold for the ELM instability, allowing the plasma to reach a transport-limited state near but below the explosive ELM stability boundary. The resulting plasmas have burning-plasma-relevant β N=1.6-1.8 and run without the need for extra torque from 3D magnetic fields. To date, stationary conditions have been produced for 2 s or 12 energy confinement times, limited only by external hardware constraints. Stationary operation with improved pedestal conditions is highly significant for future burning plasma devices, since operation without ELMs at low rotation and good confinement is key for fusion energy production.« less