Journal article

Chapter 2: Plasma confinement and transport

The understanding and predictive capability of transport physics and plasma confinement is reviewed from the perspective of achieving reactor-scale burning plasmas in the ITER tokamak, for both core and edge plasma regions. Very considerable progress has been made in understanding, controlling and predicting tokamak transport across a wide variety of plasma conditions and regimes since the publication of the ITER Physics Basis (IPB) document (1999 Nucl. Fusion 39 2137-2664). Major areas of progress considered here follow. (1) Substantial improvement in the physics content, capability and reliability of transport simulation and modelling codes, leading to much increased theory/experiment interaction as these codes are increasingly used to interpret and predict experiment. (2) Remarkable progress has been made in developing and understanding regimes of improved core confinement. Internal transport barriers and other forms of reduced core transport are now routinely obtained in all the leading tokamak devices worldwide. (3) The importance of controlling the H-mode edge pedestal is now generally recognized. Substantial progress has been made in extending high confinement H-mode operation to the Greenwald density, the demonstration of Type I ELM mitigation and control techniques and systematic explanation of Type I ELM stability. Theory-based predictive capability has also shown progress by integrating the plasma and neutral transport with MHD stability. (4) Transport projections to ITER are now made using three complementary approaches: empirical or global scaling, theory-based transport modelling and dimensionless parameter scaling (previously, empirical scaling was the dominant approach). For the ITER base case or the reference scenario of conventional ELMy H-mode operation, all three techniques predict that ITER will have sufficient confinement to meet its design target of Q = 10 operation, within similar uncertainties.


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