Beta limits in long-pulse tokamak discharges

O. Sauter, R. J. La Haye, Z. Chang, D. A. Gates, Y. Kamada, H. Zohm, A. Bondeson, D. Bouchers, J. D. Callen, M. S. Chu, T. A. Gianakon, O. Gruber, R. W. Harvey, C. C. Hegna, L. L. Lao, D. A. Monticello, F. Perkins, A. Pletzer, A. H. Reiman, M. RosenbluthE. J. Strait, T. S. Taylor, A. D. Turnbull, F. Waelbroeck, J. C. Wesley, H. R. Wilson, R. Yoshino

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The maximum normalized beta achieved in long-pulse tokamak discharges at low collisionality falls significantly below both that observed in short pulse discharges and that predicted by the ideal MHD theory. Recent long-pulse experiments, in particular those simulating the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) [M. Rosenbluth et al., Plasma Physics and Controlled Nuclear Fusion (International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, 1995), Vol. 2, p. 517] scenarios with low collisionality v e*, are often limited by low-m/n nonideal magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) modes. The effect of saturated MHD modes is a reduction of the confinement time by 10%-20%, depending on the island size and location, and can lead to a disruption. Recent theories on neoclassical destabilization of tearing modes, including the effects of a perturbed helical bootstrap current, are successful in explaining the qualitative behavior of the resistive modes and recent results are consistent with the size of the saturated islands. Also, a strong correlation is observed between the onset of these low-m/n modes with sawteeth, edge localized modes (ELM), or fishbone events, consistent with the seed island required by the theory. We will focus on a quantitative comparison between both the conventional resistive and neoclassical theories, and the experimental results of several machines, which have all observed these low-m/n nonideal modes. This enables us to single out the key issues in projecting the long-pulse beta limits of ITER-size tokamaks and also to discuss possible plasma control methods that can increase the soft β limit, decrease the seed perturbations, and/or diminish the effects on confinement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1654-1664
Number of pages11
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics


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