Non-Linear Simulations of Neoclassical Tearing Mode Control by Externally Driven RF Current and Heating, with application to ITER

Abstract : Neoclassical Tearing Modes (NTM) must be controlled or suppressed to prevent a degradation of the energy confinement in tokamak plasmas. This can be done applying RF-current via Electron Cyclotron Current Drive (ECCD) and-heating (ECRH) at the rational surface where the instability appears. Both the current and heating generated by the RF waves are known to provide a stabilizing effect on the magnetic island. In the present work, we address the issue of Neoclassical Tearing Mode stabilization by Heating and Current Drive in an ITER-like configuration, using a stiff transport model. From a revised Generalized Rutherford Equation, we revisit the criterion on the RF current and power required to stabilize an NTM, showing that the level of plasma background heating (residual heat sources) in ITER significantly lowers the benefit of the RF heating contribution. Nonlinear MagnetoHydroDynamic simulations with the XTOR code, where a stiff transport model as well as RF-power and-current drive are implemented, are performed to compute the NTM stabilization efficiency. The stabilization efficiency due to the RF current contribution is found to be less than theoretically predicted in the case of continuous application, but consistent with theory in the modulated control scheme, suggesting an enhanced destabilization at the X-point. The role of RF heating for continuous application is found to be moderate for the range of power envisaged in ITER, essentially because of the detrimental effect of residual heat sources. This numerical work confirms the capability of the ITER RF system to control the (3, 2) NTM, with a larger confidence for the modulated control scheme.
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Submitted on : Monday, April 8, 2019 - 2:53:30 PM
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Fabien Widmer, Patrick Maget, Olivier Février, Hinrich Lütjens, Xavier Garbet. Non-Linear Simulations of Neoclassical Tearing Mode Control by Externally Driven RF Current and Heating, with application to ITER. 2019. ⟨cea-02092840⟩

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