[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: While operating a magnetic fusion device in H-mode has many advantages, care must be taken to understand and control the release of energy during the H-L back transition, as the extra energy stored within the H-modetransport barrier will have the potential to cause damage to material components of a large future tokamak such as ITER. Examining a scenario where the H-L back transition sequence begins before the E × B shearing layer decays on its own, we identify a long-lived precursor mode that is tied to the events of the H-L sequence and we develop a robust control strategy for ensuring gradual release of energy during the transition sequence. Back transitions in this scenario commonly begin with a rapid relaxation of the pedestal, which was previously shown to be inconsistent with ideal peeling-ballooning instability as the trigger [Eldon et al., Phys. Plasmas 22, 052109 (2015)], despite being otherwise similar to a large type-I Edge Localized Mode(ELM). This so-called transient occurs when the E × B shearing rate ω_E×B is significantly larger than the turbulence decorrelation rate ω_T, indicating that this is not the result of runaway turbulence recovery. The transient is always synchronous with amplitude and propagation velocity modulations of the precursor mode, which has been dubbed the Modulating Pedestal Mode (MPM). The MPM is a coherent density fluctuation, which, in our scenario at least, reliably appears in the steep gradient region with f≈70 kHz, k_θ≈0.3 cm^(-1), and it exists for ≳100 ms before the onset of back transitions. The transient may be reliably eliminated by reducing toroidal rotation in the co-current direction by the application of torque from counter-injecting neutral beams. The transient in these “soft” H-L transitions is then replaced by a small type-III ELM, which is also always synchronous with the MPM, and MPM shows the same behavior in both hard and soft cases.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Physics of Plasmas
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The H-mode transport barrier allows confinement of roughly twice as much energy as in an L-mode plasma. Termination of H-mode necessarily requires release of this energy, and the timescale of that release is of critical importance for the lifetimes of plasma facing components in next step tokamaks such as ITER. H-L transition sequences in modern tokamaks often begin with a transient outburst which appears to be superficially similar to and has sometimes been referred to as a type-I edge localized mode
(ELM). Type-I ELMs have been shown to be consistent with ideal peeling ballooning instability and are characterized by significant (up to ∼50%) reduction of pedestal height on short (∼1 ms) timescales. Knowing whether or not this type of instability is present during H-L back transitions will be important of planning for plasma ramp-down in ITER. This paper presents tests of pre-transition experimental data against ideal peeling-ballooning stability calculations with the ELITE code and supports those results with secondary experiments that together show that the transient associated with the H-L transition is not triggered by the same physics as are type-I ELMs.
No preview · Article · May 2015 · Physics of Plasmas
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The sources of neutrals at the outer midplane of the plasma are discussed. We find that both the flux of neutrals escaping the divertor through leaks and ion recycling at main chamber surfaces appear to contribute. The ion flux to the walls is larger than the flux entering the divertor and comparable to recycling at the divertor plate. The cause of these high wall ion fluxes is an enhancement of cross-field particle transport which gives rise to substantial convective heat transport at higher densities. We have further explored main chamber recycling and impurity transport utilizing a novel divertor 'bypass', which connects the outer divertor plenum to the main chamber. We find that leakage of neutrals (fuel and recycling impurities) from the divertor appears to be determined primarily by the conductance through the divertor structure, thus indicating that tight baffling would be desirable in a reactor for fuel and helium ash compression.