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Home / Publications / Journals / Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 48 / Number 2

Stability Limits of High-Beta Plasmas in DIII-D

E. J. Strait

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 48 / Number 2 / October 2005 / Pages 864-874

Technical Paper / DIII-D Tokamak - Achieving Reactor-Level Plasma Pressure

Stability at high beta is an important requirement for a compact, economically attractive fusion reactor. DIII-D experiments have shown that ideal magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) theory is an accurate predictor of the ultimate stability limits for tokamaks, and the Troyon scaling law has provided a useful approximation of ideal stability limits for discharges with "conventional" profiles. However, variation of the discharge shape, pressure profile, and current density profile can lead to ideal MHD beta limits that differ significantly from simple Troyon scaling. The need for profiles consistent with steady-state operation places an important additional constraint on plasma stability. Nonideal effects can also be important and must be taken into account. For example, neoclassical tearing modes (NTMs), resulting from plasma resistivity and the nonlinear effects of the bootstrap current, can become unstable at beta values well below the ideal MHD limit. DIII-D experiments are now entering a new era of unprecedented control over plasma stability, including suppression of NTMs by localized current drive at the island location, and direct feedback stabilization of kink modes with a resistive wall. The continuing development of physics understanding and control tools holds the potential for stable, steady-state fusion plasmas at high beta.

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