Journal article

Real-time sawtooth control and NTM preemption in ITER

Real-time control of multiple plasma actuators is a requirement in advanced tokamaks; for example, for burn control, plasma current profile control and MHD stabilization—electron cyclotron (EC) wave absorption is ideally suited especially for the latter. On ITER, 24 EC sources can be switched between 56 inputs at the torus. In the torus, 5 launchers direct the power to various locations across the plasma profile via 11 steerable mirrors. For optimal usage of the available power, the aiming and polarization of the beams must be adapted to the plasma configuration and the needs of the scenario. Since the EC system performs many competing tasks, present day systems should demonstrate the ability of an EC plant to deal with several targets in parallel and/or to switch smoothly between goals to attain overall satisfaction. Based on pacing and locking experiments performed on TCV (Tokamak a` Configuration Variable), the real-time sawtooth control of ITER with this complex set of actuators is analyzed, as an example. It is shown that sawtooth locking and pacing are possible with various levels of powers, leading to different time delays between the end of the EC power phase and the next sawtooth crash. This timing is important since it allows use of the same launchers for neoclassical tearing mode (NTM) preemption at the q1⁄41.5 or 2 surface, avoiding the need to switch power between launchers. These options are presented. It is also demonstrated that increasing the total EC power does not necessarily increase the range of control because of the geometry of the launchers.


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