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  1. Alfvénic instabilities (AEs) are well known as a potential cause of enhanced fast ion transport in fusion devices. Given a specific plasma scenario, quantitative predictions of (i) expected unstable AE spectrum and (ii) resulting fast ion transport are required to prevent or mitigate the AE-induced degradation in fusion performance. Reduced models are becoming an attractive tool to analyze existing scenarios as well as for scenario prediction in time-dependent simulations. Here, in this work, a neutral beam heated NSTX discharge is used as reference to illustrate the potential of a reduced fast ion transport model, known as kick model, that hasmore » been recently implemented for interpretive and predictive analysis within the framework of the time-dependent tokamak transport code TRANSP. Predictive capabilities for AE stability and saturation amplitude are first assessed, based on given thermal plasma profiles only. Predictions are then compared to experimental results, and the interpretive capabilities of the model further discussed. Overall, the reduced model captures the main properties of the instabilities and associated effects on the fast ion population. Finally, additional information from the actual experiment enables further tuning of the model's parameters to achieve a close match with measurements.« less
  2. The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) has undergone a major upgrade, and the NSTX Upgrade (NSTX-U) Project was completed in the summer of 2015. NSTX-U first plasma was subsequently achieved, diagnostic and control systems have been commissioned, the H-mode accessed, magnetic error fields identified and mitigated, and the first physics research campaign carried out. During ten run weeks of operation, NSTX-U surpassed NSTX record pulse-durations and toroidal fields (TF), and high-performance ~1 MA H-mode plasmas comparable to the best of NSTX have been sustained near and slightly above the n = 1 no-wall stability limit and with H-mode confinement multipliermore » H98y,2 above 1. Transport and turbulence studies in L-mode plasmas have identified the coexistence of at least two ion-gyro-scale turbulent micro-instabilities near the same radial location but propagating in opposite (i.e. ion and electron diamagnetic) directions. These modes have the characteristics of ion-temperature gradient and micro-tearing modes, respectively, and the role of these modes in contributing to thermal transport is under active investigation. The new second more tangential neutral beam injection was observed to significantly modify the stability of two types of Alfven eigenmodes. Improvements in offline disruption forecasting were made in the areas of identification of rotating MHD modes and other macroscopic instabilities using the disruption event characterization and forecasting code. Finally, the materials analysis and particle probe was utilized on NSTX-U for the first time and enabled assessments of the correlation between boronized wall conditions and plasma performance. These and other highlights from the first run campaign of NSTX-U are described.« less
  3. At the power levels required for significant heating and current drive in magnetically-confined toroidal plasma, modification of the particle distribution function from a Maxwellian shape is likely (Stix 1975 Nucl. Fusion 15 737), with consequent changes in wave propagation and in the location and amount of absorption. In order to study these effects computationally, both the finite-Larmor-radius and the high-harmonic fast wave (HHFW), versions of the full-wave, hot-plasma toroidal simulation code TORIC (Brambilla 1999 Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 41 1 and Brambilla 2002 Plasma Phys. Control. Fusion 44 2423), have been extended to allow the prescription of arbitrary velocity distributionsmore » of the form f(v(parallel to), v(perpendicular to) , psi, theta). For hydrogen (H) minority heating of a deuterium (D) plasma with anisotropic Maxwellian H distributions, the fractional H absorption varies significantly with changes in parallel temperature but is essentially independent of perpendicular temperature. On the other hand, for HHFW regime with anisotropic Maxwellian fast ion distribution, the fractional beam ion absorption varies mainly with changes in the perpendicular temperature. The evaluation of the wave-field and power absorption, through the full wave solver, with the ion distribution function provided by either a Monte-Carlo particle and Fokker-Planck codes is also examined for Alcator C-Mod and NSTX plasmas. Non-Maxwellian effects generally tend to increase the absorption with respect to the equivalent Maxwellian distribution.« less
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  4. Here, we show that the degradation of fast-ion confinement in steady-state DIII-D discharges is quantitatively consistent with predictions based on the effects of multiple unstable Alfven eigenmodes on beam-ion transport. Simulation and experiment show that increasing the radius where the magnetic safety factor has its minimum is effective in minimizing beam-ion transport. This is favorable for achieving high performance steady-state operation in DIII-D and future reactors. A comparison between the experiments and a critical gradient model, in which only equilibrium profiles were used to predict the most unstable modes, show that in a number of cases this model reproduces themore » measured neutron rate well.« less
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  6. A real-time velocity (RTV) diagnostic based on active charge-exchange recombination spectroscopy is now operational on the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) spherical torus (Menard et al 2012 Nucl. Fusion 52 083015). We designed the system in order to supply plasma velocity data in real time to the NSTX-U plasma control system, as required for the implementation of toroidal rotation control. Our measurements are available from four radii at a maximum sampling frequency of 5 kHz. Post-discharge analysis of RTV data provides additional information on ion temperature, toroidal velocity and density of carbon impurities. Furthermore, examples of physics studies enabled bymore » RTV measurements from initial operations of NSTX-U are discussed.« less
  7. The redistribution and potential loss of energetic particles due to MHD modes can limit the performance of fusion plasmas by reducing the plasma heating rate. In this work, we present validation studies of the 1.5D critical gradient model (CGM) for Alfvén eigenmode (AE) induced EP transport in NSTX and DIII-D neutral beam heated plasmas. In previous comparisons with a single DIII-D L-mode case, the CGM model was found to be responsible for 75% of measured AE induced neutron deficit [1]. A fully kinetic HINST is used to compute mode stability for the non-perturbative version of CGM (or nCGM). We have found that AEs show strong local instability drive up tomore » $$\gamma /\omega \sim 20\%$$ violating assumptions of perturbative approaches used in NOVA-K code. Lastly, we demonstrate that both models agree with each other and both underestimate the neutron deficit measured in DIII-D shot by approximately a factor of 2.« less
  8. Observations on the National Spherical Torus eXperiment (NSTX) indicate that externally applied non-axisymmetric magnetic perturbations (MP) can reduce the amplitude of Toroidal Alfven Eigenmodes (TAE) and Global Alfven Eigenmodes (GAE) in response to pulsed n=3 non-resonant fields. From full-orbit following Monte Carlo simulations with the 1- and 2-fluid resistive MHD plasma response to the magnetic perturbation included, it was found that in response to MP pulses the fast-ion losses increased and the fast-ion drive for the GAEs was reduced. The MP did not affect the fast-ion drive for the TAEs significantly but the Alfven continuum at the plasma edge wasmore » found to be altered due to the toroidal symmetry breaking which leads to coupling of different toroidal harmonics. The TAE gap was reduced at the edge creating enhanced continuum damping of the global TAEs, which is consistent with the observations. Furthermore, the results suggest that optimized non-axisymmetric MP might be exploited to control and mitigate Alfven instabilities by tailoring the fast-ion distribution function and/or continuum structure.« less
  9. Here, integrated simulations of tokamak discharges typically rely on classical physics to model energetic particle (EP) dynamics. However, there are numerous cases in which energetic particles can suffer additional transport that is not classical in nature. Examples include transport by applied 3D magnetic perturbations and, more notably, by plasma instabilities. Focusing on the effects of instabilities,ad-hocmodels can empirically reproduce increased transport, but the choice of transport coefficients is usually somehow arbitrary. New approaches based on physics-based reduced models are being developed to address those issues in a simplified way, while retaining a more correct treatment of resonant wave-particle interactions. Themore » kick model implemented in the tokamaktransport code TRANSP is an example of such reduced models. It includes modifications of the EP distribution by instabilities in real and velocity space, retaining correlations between transport in energy and space typical of resonant EP transport. The relevance of EP phase space modifications by instabilities is first discussed in terms of predicted fast ion distribution. Results are compared with those from a simple, ad-hoc diffusive model. It is then shown that the phase-space resolved model can also provide additional insight into important issues such as internal consistency of the simulations and mode stability through the analysis of the power exchanged between energetic particles and the instabilities.« less
  10. One of the primary tools foreseen for heating, current drive (CD) and q-profile control in future fusion reactors such as ITER and a Fusion Nuclear Science Facility is the neutral beam injection (NBI). However, fast ions from NBI may also provide the drive for energetic particle-driven instabilities (e.g. Alfvénic modes (AEs)), which in turn redistribute fast ions in both space and energy, thus hampering the control capabilities and overall efficiency of NB-driven current. Based on experiments on the NSTX tokamak (M. Ono et al 2000 Nucl. Fusion 40 557), the effects of AEs and other low-frequency magneto-hydrodynamic instabilities on NB-CDmore » efficiency are investigated. When looking at the new fast ion transport model, which accounts for particle transport in phase space as required for resonant AE perturbations, is utilized to obtain consistent simulations of NB-CD through the tokamak transport code TRANSP. It is found that instabilities do indeed reduce the NB-driven current density over most of the plasma radius by up to ~50%. Moreover, the details of the current profile evolution are sensitive to the specific model used to mimic the interaction between NB ions and instabilities. Finally, implications for fast ion transport modeling in integrated tokamak simulations are briefly discussed.« less

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