Inter-machine comparison of the termination phase and energy conversion in tokamak disruptions with runaway current plateau formation and implications for ITER

J.R. Martín-Solís, A. Loarte, E.M. Hollmann, B. Esposito, V. Riccardo

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The termination of the current and the loss of runaway electrons following runaway current plateau formation during disruptions have been investigated in the JET, DIII-D and FTU tokamaks. Substantial conversion of magnetic energy into runaway kinetic energy, up to ∼10 times the initial plateau runaway kinetic energy, has been inferred for the slowest current terminations. Both modelling and experiment suggest that, in present devices, the efficiency of conversion into runaway kinetic energy is determined to a great extent by the characteristic runaway loss time, τdiff, and the resistive time of the residual ohmic plasma after the disruption, τres, increasing with the ratio τdiff/τres. It is predicted that, in large future devices such as ITER, the generation of runaways by the avalanche mechanism will play an important role, particularly for slow runaway discharge terminations, increasing substantially the amount of energy deposited by the runaways onto the plasma-facing components by the conversion of magnetic energy of the runaway plasma into runaway kinetic energy. Estimates of the power fluxes on the beryllium plasma-facing components during runaway termination in ITER indicate that for runaway currents of up to 2MA no melting of the components is expected. For larger runaway currents, minimization of the effects of runaway impact on the first wall requires a reduction in the kinetic energy of the runaway beam before termination and, in addition, high plasma density neand low ohmic plasma resistance (long τres) to prevent large conversion of magnetic into runaway kinetic energy during slow current terminations. © 2014 EURATOM.
Original languageEnglish
Article number083027
Pages (from-to)-
JournalNuclear Fusion
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear and High Energy Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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