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Title: Runaway electrons and magnetic island confinement

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. 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
  1. Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
FG02-03ER54696; De-FG02-03ER54696
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Physics of Plasmas
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 23; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 1070-664X
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Research Org:
Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) (SC-24)
Country of Publication:
United States
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; runaway electrons; magnetic islands; turnstiles
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1302505