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Title: Runaway electrons and magnetic island confinement

Abstract

The breakup of magnetic surfaces is a central feature of ITER planning for the avoidance of damage due to runaway electrons. Rapid thermal quenches, which lead to large accelerating voltages, are thought to be due to magnetic surface breakup. Impurity injection to avoid and to mitigate both halo and runaway electron currents utilizes massive gas injection or shattered pellets. The actual deposition is away from the plasma center, and the breakup of magnetic surfaces is thought to spread the effects of the impurities across the plasma cross section. The breakup of magnetic surfaces would prevent runaway electrons from reaching relativistic energies were it not for the persistence of non-intercepting flux tubes. These are tubes of magnetic field lines that do not intercept the walls. In simulations and in magnetic field models, non-intercepting flux tubes are found to persist near the magnetic axis and in the cores of magnetic islands even when a large scale magnetic surface breakup occurs. As long as a few magnetic surfaces reform before all of the non-intercepting flux tubes dissipate, energetic electrons confined and accelerated in these flux tubes can serve as the seed electrons for a transfer of the overall plasma current from thermal tomore » relativistic carriers. The acceleration of electrons is particularly strong because of the sudden changes in the poloidal flux that naturally occur in a rapid magnetic relaxation. The physics of magnetic islands as non-intercepting flux tubes is studied. Expressions are derived for (1) the size of islands required to confine energetic runaway electrons, (2) the accelerating electric field in an island, (3) the increase or reduction in the size of an island by the runaway electron current, (4) the approximate magnitude of the runaway current in an island, and (5) the time scale for the evolution of an island.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Columbia University, New York, New York 10027 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22599889
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 23; Journal Issue: 8; Other Information: (c) 2016 Author(s); Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; CROSS SECTIONS; ELECTRIC CURRENTS; ELECTRIC FIELDS; ELECTRIC POTENTIAL; GAS INJECTION; ITER TOKAMAK; MAGNETIC FIELDS; MAGNETIC ISLANDS; MAGNETIC SURFACES; PLANNING; PLASMA; RELATIVISTIC RANGE; RUNAWAY ELECTRONS; SIMULATION; TAIL ELECTRONS; TUBES; WALLS

Citation Formats

Boozer, Allen H., E-mail: ahb17@columbia.edu. Runaway electrons and magnetic island confinement. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1063/1.4960969.
Boozer, Allen H., E-mail: ahb17@columbia.edu. Runaway electrons and magnetic island confinement. United States. doi:10.1063/1.4960969.
Boozer, Allen H., E-mail: ahb17@columbia.edu. 2016. "Runaway electrons and magnetic island confinement". United States. doi:10.1063/1.4960969.
@article{osti_22599889,
title = {Runaway electrons and magnetic island confinement},
author = {Boozer, Allen H., E-mail: ahb17@columbia.edu},
abstractNote = {The breakup of magnetic surfaces is a central feature of ITER planning for the avoidance of damage due to runaway electrons. Rapid thermal quenches, which lead to large accelerating voltages, are thought to be due to magnetic surface breakup. Impurity injection to avoid and to mitigate both halo and runaway electron currents utilizes massive gas injection or shattered pellets. The actual deposition is away from the plasma center, and the breakup of magnetic surfaces is thought to spread the effects of the impurities across the plasma cross section. The breakup of magnetic surfaces would prevent runaway electrons from reaching relativistic energies were it not for the persistence of non-intercepting flux tubes. These are tubes of magnetic field lines that do not intercept the walls. In simulations and in magnetic field models, non-intercepting flux tubes are found to persist near the magnetic axis and in the cores of magnetic islands even when a large scale magnetic surface breakup occurs. As long as a few magnetic surfaces reform before all of the non-intercepting flux tubes dissipate, energetic electrons confined and accelerated in these flux tubes can serve as the seed electrons for a transfer of the overall plasma current from thermal to relativistic carriers. The acceleration of electrons is particularly strong because of the sudden changes in the poloidal flux that naturally occur in a rapid magnetic relaxation. The physics of magnetic islands as non-intercepting flux tubes is studied. Expressions are derived for (1) the size of islands required to confine energetic runaway electrons, (2) the accelerating electric field in an island, (3) the increase or reduction in the size of an island by the runaway electron current, (4) the approximate magnitude of the runaway current in an island, and (5) the time scale for the evolution of an island.},
doi = {10.1063/1.4960969},
journal = {Physics of Plasmas},
number = 8,
volume = 23,
place = {United States},
year = 2016,
month = 8
}
  • Cited by 2
  • The breakup of magnetic surfaces is a central feature of ITER planning for the avoidance of damage due to runaway electrons. Rapid thermal quenches, which lead to large accelerating voltages, are thought to be due to magnetic surface breakup. Impurity injection to avoid and to mitigate both halo and runaway electron currents utilizes massive gas injection or shattered pellets. The actual deposition is away from the plasma center, and the breakup of magnetic surfaces is thought to spread the effects of the impurities across the plasma cross section. The breakup of magnetic surfaces would prevent runaway electrons from reaching relativisticmore » energies were it not for the persistence of non-intercepting flux tubes. These are tubes of magnetic field lines that do not intercept the walls. In simulations and in magnetic field models, non-intercepting flux tubes are found to persist near the magnetic axis and in the cores of magnetic islands even when a large scale magnetic surface breakup occurs. As long as a few magnetic surfaces reform before all of the non-intercepting flux tubes dissipate, energetic electrons confined and accelerated in these flux tubes can serve as the seed electrons for a transfer of the overall plasma current from thermal to relativistic carriers. The acceleration of electrons is particularly strong because of the sudden changes in the poloidal flux that naturally occur in a rapid magnetic relaxation. Furthermore, the physics of magnetic islands as non-intercepting flux tubes is studied. Expressions are derived for (1) the size of islands required to confine energetic runaway electrons, (2) the accelerating electric field in an island, (3) the increase or reduction in the size of an island by the runaway electron current, (4) the approximate magnitude of the runaway current in an island, and (5) the time scale for the evolution of an island.« less
  • The nature of runaway electrons is such that the confinement and dynamics of the electrons can be strongly affected by magnetic fluctuations in plasma. Experimental results in the HT-7 tokamak indicated significant losses of runaway electrons due to magnetic fluctuations, but the loss processes did not only rely on the fluctuation amplitude. Efficient radial runaway transport required that there were no more than small regions of the plasma volume in which there was very low transport of runaways. A radial runaway diffusion coefficient of D{sub r} Almost-Equal-To 10 m{sup 2}s{sup -1} was derived for the loss processes, and diffusion coefficientmore » near the resonant magnetic surfaces and shielding factor #Greek Upsilon With Hook Symbol#=0.8 were deduced. Test particle equations were used to analyze the effect of magnetic fluctuations on runaway dynamics. It was found that the maximum energy that runaways can gain is very sensitive to the value of {alpha}{sub s} (i.e., the fraction of plasma volume with reduced transport). {alpha}{sub s}=(0.28-0.33) was found for the loss processes in the experiment, and maximum runaway energy could be controlled in the range of E=(4 MeV-6 MeV) in this case. Additionally, to control the maximum runaway energy below 5 MeV, the normalized electric field needed to be under a critical value D{sub {alpha}}=6.8, and the amplitude normalized magnetic fluctuations b(tilde sign) needed to be at least of the order of b(tilde sign) Almost-Equal-To 3 Multiplication-Sign 10{sup -5}.« less
  • In a recent work [J. R. Martin-Solis and R. Sanchez, Phys. Plasmas 13, 012508 (2006)], the increase that the presence of stochastic magnetic fields causes on the synchrotron radiation losses of relativistic runaway electrons was quantified using a guiding-center approximation. Here, we complete those studies by considering instead the mechanism which dominates the interaction at the gyromotion level. It is shown that, under typical tokamak conditions, the resonant cyclotron interaction with high enough parallel (to the magnetic field) wave numbers (k{parallel}) modes can create, even for moderate magnetic fluctuation levels, an upper bound on the runaway energy. Implications for disruption-generatedmore » runaway electrons will be also discussed.« less