Infoscience

Journal article

Physics of the conceptual design of the ITER plasma control system

The ITER plasma control system (PCS) will play a central role in enabling the experimental program to attempt to sustain DT plasmas with Q = 10 for several hundred seconds and also support research toward the development of steady-state operation in ITER. The PCS is now in the final phase of its conceptual design. The PCS relies on about 45 diagnostic systems to assess real-time plasma conditions and about 20 actuator systems for overall control of ITER plasmas. It will integrate algorithms required for active control of a wide range of plasma parameters with sophisticated event forecasting and handling functions, which will enable appropriate transitions to be implemented, in real-time, in response to plasma evolution or actuator constraints. In specifying the PCS conceptual design, it is essential to define requirements related to all phases of plasma operation, ranging from early (non-active) H/He plasmas through high fusion gain inductive plasmas to fully non-inductive steady-state operation, to ensure that the PCS control functionality and architecture will be capable of satisfying the demands of the ITER research plan. The scope of the control functionality required of the PCS includes plasma equilibrium and density control commonly utilized in existing experiments, control of the plasma heat exhaust, control of a range of MHD instabilities (including mitigation of disruptions), and aspects such as control of the non-inductive current and the current profile required to maintain stable plasmas in steady-state scenarios. Control areas are often strongly coupled and the integrated control of the plasma to reach and sustain high plasma performance must apply multiple control functions simultaneously with a limited number of actuators. A sophisticated shared actuator management system is being designed to prioritize the goals that need to be controlled or weigh the algorithms and actuators in real-time according to dynamic control needs. The underlying architecture will be event-based so that many possible plasma or plant system events or faults could trigger automatic changes in the control algorithms or operational scenario, depending on real-time operating limits and conditions. (C) 2014 ITER Organization. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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