Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 43 / Number 1 / January 2003 / Pages 67-90
To find a solution of the plasma current rampup problem in a low aspect ratio spherical tokamak (ST) reactor, the effect of the outer vertical field coils on plasma current rampup is studied with noninductively driven current and bootstrap current but without the OH transformer during the fusion power rampup phase. As a lower elongation of [kappa] = 2 does not allow a large poloidal beta, a low density discharge with high heating/current drive power is necessary to increase the noninductive plasma current up to 30 MA, and then the vertical field can ramp the plasma current up to 48 MA just before reaching the steady state fusion burn phase. A higher elongation of [kappa] = 3 can reach a higher p value, in which case the plasma current of 48 MA can be achieved by the vertical field without powerful heating/current drive. As the level of the vertical field current drive depends on the plasma energy, which is determined by the confinement time, a lower confinement factor can only produce a lower plasma current. The current rampup time can be chosen arbitrarily, shorter or longer, facilitating a flexible ST reactor operation.