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Status and Plans for the National Spherical Torus Experimental Research Facility

Description: An overview of the research capabilities and the future plans on the MA-class National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) at Princeton is presented. NSTX research is exploring the scientific benefits of modifying the field line structure from that in more conventional aspect ratio devices, such as the tokamak. The relevant scientific issues pursued on NSTX include energy confinement, MHD stability at high beta, non-inductive sustainment, solenoid-free start-up, and power and particle handling. In support of the NSTX research goal, research tools are being developed by the NSTX team. In the context of the fusion energy development path being formulated in the US, an ST-based Component Test Facility (CTF) and, ultimately a high beta Demo device based on the ST, are being considered. For these, it is essential to develop high performance (high beta and high confinement), steady-state (non-inductively driven) ST operational scenarios and an efficient solenoid-free start-up concept. We will also briefly describe the Next-Step-ST (NSST) device being designed to address these issues in fusion-relevant plasma conditions.
Date: July 27, 2005
Creator: Columbia University
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Recent Progress on the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX)

Description: Recent upgrades to the NSTX facility have led to improved plasma performance. Using 5MW of neutral beam injection, plasmas with toroidal {beta}{sub T} (= 2{micro}{sub 0}<p>/B{sub T}{sup 2} where B{sub T} is the vacuum toroidal field at the plasma geometric center) > 30% have been achieved with normalized {beta}{sub N} (= {beta}{sub T}aB{sub I}/I{sub p}) {approx} 6% {center_dot} m {center_dot} T/MA.. The highest {beta} discharge exceeded the calculated no-wall {beta} limit for several wall times. The stored energy has reached 390kJ at higher toroidal field (0.55T) corresponding to {beta}{sub T} {approx} 20% and {beta}{sub N} = 5.4. Long pulse ({approx}1s) high {beta}{sub p} ({approx}1.5) discharges have also been obtained at higher {beta}{sub {phi}} (0.5T) with up to 6MW NBI power. The highest energy confinement times, up to 120ms, were observed during H-mode operation which is now routine. Confinement times of {approx}1.5 times ITER98pby2 for several {tau}{sub E} are observed during both H-Mode and non-H-Mode discharges. Calculations indicate that many NSTX discharges have very good ion confinement, approaching neoclassical levels. High Harmonic Fast Wave current drive has been demonstrated by comparing discharges with waves launched parallel and anti-parallel to the plasma current.
Date: July 2, 2002
Creator: Gates, D. A.; Bell, M. G.; Bell, R. E.; Bialek, J.; Bigelow, T.; Bitter, M. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

High Performance Plasmas on the National Spherical Torus Experiment

Description: The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) has produced toroidal plasmas at low aspect ratio (A = R/a = 0.86 m/0.68 m approximately equal to 1.3, where R is the major radius and a is the minor radius of the torus) with plasma currents of 1.4 MA. The rapid development of the machine has led to very exciting physics results during the first full year of physics operation. Pulse lengths in excess of 0.5 sec have been obtained with inductive current drive. Up to 4 MW of High Harmonic Fast Wave (HHFW) heating power has been applied with 6 MW planned. Using only 2 MW of HHFW heating power clear evidence of electron heating is seen with HHFW, as observed by the multi-point Thomson scattering diagnostic. A noninductive current drive concept known as Coaxial Helicity Injection (CHI) has driven 260 kA of toroidal current. Neutral-beam heating power of 5 MW has been injected. Plasmas with beta toroidal (= 2 mu(subscript ''0'')<p>/B(superscript ''2'') = a measure of magnetic confinement efficiency ) of 22% have been achieved, as calculated using the EFIT equilibrium reconstruction code. Beta-limiting phenomena have been observed, and the maximum beta toroidal scales with I(subscript ''p'')/aB(subscript ''t''). High frequency (>MHz) magnetic fluctuations have been observed. High-confinement mode plasmas are observed with confinement times of >100 msec. Beam-heated plasmas show energy confinement times in excess of those predicted by empirical scaling expressions. Ion temperatures in excess of 2.0 keV have been measured, and power balance suggests that the power loss from the ions to the electrons may exceed the calculated classical input power to the ions.
Date: July 10, 2001
Creator: Gates, D.A.; Bell, M.G.; Bell, R.E.; Bialek, J.; Bigelow, T.; Bitter, M. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Automated Eukaryotic Gene Structure Annotation Using EVidenceModeler and the Program to Assemble Spliced Alignments

Description: EVidenceModeler (EVM) is presented as an automated eukaryotic gene structure annotation tool that reports eukaryotic gene structures as a weighted consensus of all available evidence. EVM, when combined with the Program to Assemble Spliced Alignments (PASA), yields a comprehensive, configurable annotation system that predicts protein-coding genes and alternatively spliced isoforms. Our experiments on both rice and human genome sequences demonstrate that EVM produces automated gene structure annotation approaching the quality of manual curation.
Date: December 10, 2007
Creator: Haas, B J; Salzberg, S L; Zhu, W; Pertea, M; Allen, J E; Orvis, J et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Recent Physics Results from NSTX

Description: The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) has made considerable progress in advancing the scientific understanding of high performance long-pulse plasmas needed for ITER and future low-aspect-ratio Spherical Torus (ST) devices. Plasma durations up to 1.6s (5 current redistribution times) have been achieved at plasma currents of 0.7 MA with non-inductive current fractions above 65% while achieving {beta}{sub T} and {beta}{sub N} values of 16% and 5.7 (%mT/MA), respectively. Newly available Motional Stark Effect data has allowed systematic study and validation of current drive sources and improved the understanding of ''hybrid''-like scenarios. In MHD research, six mid-plane ex-vessel radial field coils have been utilized to infer and correct intrinsic error fields, provide rotation control, and actively stabilize the n=1 resistive wall mode at ITER-relevant low plasma rotation values. In transport and turbulence, the low aspect ratio and wide range of achievable {beta} in NSTX provide unique data for confinement scaling studies. A new high-k scattering diagnostic is investigating turbulent density fluctuations with wavenumbers extending from ion to electron gyro-scales. In the area of energetic particle research, cyclic neutron rate drops have been associated with the destabilization of multiple large Toroidal Alfven Eigenmodes (TAEs) similar to the ''sea-of-TAE'' modes predicted for ITER. Three wave coupling processes between energetic particle modes and TAEs have also been observed for the first time. In boundary physics, advanced shape control has been utilized to study the role of magnetic balance in H-mode access and ELM stability. Peak divertor heat flux has been reduced by a factor of 5 using an H-mode compatible radiative divertor, and Lithium conditioning has demonstrated particle pumping and improved thermal confinement. Finally, non-solenoidal plasma start-up research is particularly important for the ST, and Coaxial Helicity Injection has now produced 160kA plasma currents on closed magnetic flux surfaces.
Date: October 5, 2006
Creator: Menard, J E; Bell, M G; Bell, R E; Bialek, J M; Boedo, J A; Bush, C E et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Internal Kink Mode Dynamics in High-beta NSTX Plasmas

Description: Saturated internal kink modes have been observed in many of the highest toroidal {beta} discharges of the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX). These modes often cause rotation flattening in the plasma core, can degrade energy confinement, and in some cases contribute to the complete loss of plasma angular momentum and stored energy. Characteristics of the modes are measured using soft X-ray, kinetic profile, and magnetic diagnostics. Toroidal flows approaching Alfvenic speeds, island pressure peaking, and enhanced viscous and diamagnetic effects associated with high-{beta} may contribute to mode nonlinear stabilization. These saturation mechanisms are investigated for NSTX parameters and compared to experimental data.
Date: December 22, 2004
Creator: Menard, J.E.; Bell, R.E.; Fredrickson, E.D.; Gates, D.A.; Kaye, S.M.; LeBlanc, B.P. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Internal Kink Mode Dynamics in High-{beta} NSTX Plasmas

Description: Saturated internal kink modes have been observed in many of the highest toroidal beta discharges of the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX). These modes often cause rotation flattening in the plasma core, can degrade energy confinement, and in some cases contribute to the complete loss of plasma angular momentum and stored energy. Characteristics of the modes are measured using soft X-ray, kinetic profile, and magnetic diagnostics. Toroidal flows approaching Alfvenic speeds, island pressure peaking, and enhanced viscous and diamagnetic effects associated with high-beta may contribute to mode nonlinear stabilization. These saturation mechanisms are investigated for NSTX parameters and compared to experimental data.
Date: December 22, 2004
Creator: Menard, J.E.; Bell, R.E.; Fredrickson, E.D.; Gates, D.A.; Kaye, S.M.; LeBlanc, B.P. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Investigation of Resistive Wall Mode Stabilization Physics in High-beta Plasmas Using Applied Non-axisymmetric Fields in NSTX

Description: The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) offers an operational space characterized by high-beta (βt = 39%, βN > 7, βN/βno-wall N > 1.5) and low aspect ratio (A > 1.27) to leverage the plasma parameter dependences of RWM stabilization and plasma rotation damping physics giving greater confidence for extrapolation to ITER. Significant new capability for RWM research has been added to the device with the commissioning of a set of six nonaxisymmetric magnetic field coils, allowing generation of fields with dominant toroidal mode number, n, of 1–3. These coils have been used to study the dependence of resonant field amplification on applied field frequency and RWMstabilization physics by reducing the toroidal rotation profile belowits steady-state value through non-resonant magnetic braking. Modification of plasma rotation profiles shows that rotation outside q = 2.5 is not required for passive RWM stability and there is large variation in the RWM critical rotation at the q = 2 surface, both of which are consistent with distributed dissipation models.
Date: June 16, 2009
Creator: Sontag, A. C.; Sabbagh, S. A.; Zhu, W.; Menard, J. E.; Bell, R. E.; Bialek, J. M. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) Research Program and Progress Towards High Beta, Long Pulse Operating Scenarios

Description: A major research goal of the National Spherical Torus Experiment is establishing long-pulse, high-beta, high-confinement operation and its physics basis. This research has been enabled by facility capabilities developed over the last two years, including neutral-beam (up to 7 MW) and high-harmonic fast-wave heating (up to 6 MW), toroidal fields up to 6 kG, plasma currents up to 1.5 MA, flexible shape control, and wall preparation techniques. These capabilities have enabled the generation of plasmas with <beta {sub T}> up to 35%. Normalized beta values often exceed the no wall limit, and studies suggest that passive wall mode stabilization is enabling this for broad pressure profiles characteristic of H-mode plasmas. The viability of long, high bootstrap-current fraction operations has been established for ELMing H-mode plasmas with toroidal beta values in excess of 15% and sustained for several current relaxation times. Improvements in wall conditioning and fueling are likely contributing to a reduction in H-mode power thresholds. Electron thermal conduction is the dominant thermal loss channel in auxiliary-heated plasmas examined thus far. High-harmonic fast-wave (HHFW) effectively heats electrons, and its acceleration of fast beam ions has been observed. Evidence for HHFW current drive is by comparing of the loop voltage evolution in plasmas with matched density and temperature profiles but varying phases of launched HHFW waves. A peak heat flux of 10 MW/m superscript ''2'' has been measured in the H-mode, with large asymmetries in the power deposition being observed between the inner and outer strike points. Noninductive plasma start-up studies have focused on coaxial helicity injection. With this technique, toroidal currents up to 400 kA have been driven, and studies to assess flux closure and coupling to other current-drive techniques have begun.
Date: October 15, 2002
Creator: Synakowski, E. J.; Bell, M. G.; Bell, R. E.; Bigelow, T.; Bitter, M.; Blanchard, W. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department