Journal article

Improving tokamak vertical position control in the presence of power supply voltage saturation

The control of the current, position and shape of an elongated cross-section tokamak plasma is complicated by the so-called instability of the current vertical position. Linearized models all share the feature of a single unstable eigenmode, attributable to this vertical instability of the plasma equilibrium movement, and a large number of stable or marginally stable eigenmodes, attributable to zero or positive resistance in all other model circuit equations. Due to the size and therefore cost of the ITER tokamak, there will naturally be smaller margins in the poloidal field coil power supplies, implying that the feedback control will experience actuator saturation during large transients due to a variety of plasma disturbances. Current saturation is relatively benign, due to the integrating nature of the tokamak, resulting in a reasonable time horizon for strategically handling the approach to saturation which leads to the loss of one degree of freedom in the feedback control for each saturated coil. On the other hand, voltage saturation is produced. by the feedback controller itself, with no intrinsic delay. This paper presents a feedback controller design approach which explicitly takes saturation of the power supply voltage into account when producing the power supply demand signals. We consider the vertically stabilizing part of the ITER controller (fast controller) with one power supply and therefore a single saturated input. We. consider an existing ITER controller and enlarge its region of attraction to the full null controllable region by adding a continuous nonlinearity into the control. In a system with a single unstable eigenmode and a single stable eigenmode we have already provided a proof of the asymptotical stability of the closed loop system, and we have examined the performance of this new continuous nonlinear controller. We have subsequently extended this analysis to a system with a single eigenmode and multiple stable eigenmodes. The method requires state feedback control, and therefore a reconstruction of the states is indispensable. We discuss the feasibility of extracting these states from the available diagnostic information as well as other implementation details. As a complement to our ITER simulations we confirm the enlargement of the region of attraction by the new controller by a JET simulation.

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