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Title: Runaway electrons and ITER

Abstract

The potential for damage, the magnitude of the extrapolation, and the importance of the atypical—incidents that occur once in a thousand shots—make theory and simulation essential for ensuring that relativistic runaway electrons will not prevent ITER from achieving its mission. Most of the theoretical literature on electron runaway assumes magnetic surfaces exist. ITER planning for the avoidance of halo and runaway currents is focused on massive gas or shattered-pellet injection of impurities. In simulations of experiments, such injections lead to a rapid large-scale magnetic-surface breakup. Surface breakup, which is a magnetic reconnection, can occur on a quasi-ideal Alfvénic time scale when the resistance is sufficiently small. Nevertheless, the removal of the bulk of the poloidal flux, as in halo-current mitigation, is on a resistive time scale. The acceleration of electrons to relativistic energies requires the confinement of some tubes of magnetic flux within the plasma and a resistive time scale. The interpretation of experiments on existing tokamaks and their extrapolation to ITER should carefully distinguish confined versus unconfined magnetic field lines and quasi-ideal versus resistive evolution. The separation of quasi-ideal from resistive evolution is extremely challenging numerically, but is greatly simplified by constraints of Maxwell’s equations, and in particular thosemore » associated with magnetic helicity. Thus, the physics of electron runaway along confined magnetic field lines is clarified by relations among the poloidal flux change required for an e-fold in the number of electrons, the energy distribution of the relativistic electrons, and the number of relativistic electron strikes that can be expected in a single disruption event.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24)
OSTI Identifier:
1429495
Grant/Contract Number:
FG02-03ER54696; SC0016347
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nuclear Fusion
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 57; Journal Issue: 5; Journal ID: ISSN 0029-5515
Publisher:
IOP Science
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; runaway electrons; ITER; tokamaks; magnetic helicity; disruptions; fast magnetic reconnection

Citation Formats

Boozer, Allen H. Runaway electrons and ITER. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1088/1741-4326/aa6355.
Boozer, Allen H. Runaway electrons and ITER. United States. doi:10.1088/1741-4326/aa6355.
Boozer, Allen H. Fri . "Runaway electrons and ITER". United States. doi:10.1088/1741-4326/aa6355. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1429495.
@article{osti_1429495,
title = {Runaway electrons and ITER},
author = {Boozer, Allen H.},
abstractNote = {The potential for damage, the magnitude of the extrapolation, and the importance of the atypical—incidents that occur once in a thousand shots—make theory and simulation essential for ensuring that relativistic runaway electrons will not prevent ITER from achieving its mission. Most of the theoretical literature on electron runaway assumes magnetic surfaces exist. ITER planning for the avoidance of halo and runaway currents is focused on massive gas or shattered-pellet injection of impurities. In simulations of experiments, such injections lead to a rapid large-scale magnetic-surface breakup. Surface breakup, which is a magnetic reconnection, can occur on a quasi-ideal Alfvénic time scale when the resistance is sufficiently small. Nevertheless, the removal of the bulk of the poloidal flux, as in halo-current mitigation, is on a resistive time scale. The acceleration of electrons to relativistic energies requires the confinement of some tubes of magnetic flux within the plasma and a resistive time scale. The interpretation of experiments on existing tokamaks and their extrapolation to ITER should carefully distinguish confined versus unconfined magnetic field lines and quasi-ideal versus resistive evolution. The separation of quasi-ideal from resistive evolution is extremely challenging numerically, but is greatly simplified by constraints of Maxwell’s equations, and in particular those associated with magnetic helicity. Thus, the physics of electron runaway along confined magnetic field lines is clarified by relations among the poloidal flux change required for an e-fold in the number of electrons, the energy distribution of the relativistic electrons, and the number of relativistic electron strikes that can be expected in a single disruption event.},
doi = {10.1088/1741-4326/aa6355},
journal = {Nuclear Fusion},
number = 5,
volume = 57,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Mar 24 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Fri Mar 24 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Journal Article:
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  • The plasma current in ITER cannot be allowed to transfer from thermal to relativistic electron carriers. The potential for damage is too great. Before the final design is chosen for the mitigation system to prevent such a transfer, it is important that the parameters that control the physics be understood. Equations that determine these parameters and their characteristic values are derived. The mitigation benefits of the injection of impurities with the highest possible atomic number Z and the slowing plasma cooling during halo current mitigation to ≳40 ms in ITER are discussed. The highest possible Z increases the poloidal flux consumptionmore » required for each e-fold in the number of relativistic electrons and reduces the number of high energy seed electrons from which exponentiation builds. Slow cooling of the plasma during halo current mitigation also reduces the electron seed. Existing experiments could test physics elements required for mitigation but cannot carry out an integrated demonstration. ITER itself cannot carry out an integrated demonstration without excessive danger of damage unless the probability of successful mitigation is extremely high. The probability of success depends on the reliability of the theory. Equations required for a reliable Monte Carlo simulation are derived.« less
  • The well observed inward drift of current carrying runaway electrons during runaway plateau phase after disruption is studied by considering the phase space dynamic of runaways in a large aspect ratio toroidal system. We consider the case where the toroidal field is unperturbed and the toroidal symmetry of the system is preserved. The balance between the change in canonical angular momentum and the input of mechanical angular momentum in such a system requires runaways to drift horizontally in configuration space for any given change in momentum space. The dynamic of this drift can be obtained by integrating the modified Euler-Lagrangemore » equation over one bounce time. It is then found that runaway electrons will always drift inward as long as they are decelerating. This drift motion is essentially non-linear, since the current is carried by runaways themselves, and any runaway drift relative to the magnetic axis will cause further displacement of the axis itself. A simplified analytical model is constructed to describe such inward drift both in the ideal wall case and no wall case, and the runaway current center displacement as a function of parallel momentum variation is obtained. The time scale of such displacement is estimated by considering effective radiation drag, which shows reasonable agreement with the observed displacement time scale. This indicates that the phase space dynamic studied here plays a major role in the horizontal displacement of runaway electrons during plateau phase.« less