The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) has undergone a major upgrade, and the NSTX Upgrade (NSTX-U) Project was completed in the summer of 2015. NSTX-U first plasma was subsequently achieved, diagnostic and control systems have been commissioned, H-Mode accessed, magnetic error fields identified and mitigated, and the first physics research campaign carried out. During 10 run weeks of operation, NSTX-U surpassed NSTX-record pulse-durations and toroidal fields, and high-performance ~1MA H-mode plasmas comparable to the best of NSTX have been sustained near and slightly above the n=1 no-wall stability limit and with H-mode confinement multiplier H98y2 above 1. Transport and turbulence studies in L-mode plasmas have identified the coexistence of at least two ion-gyro-scale turbulent micro-instabilities near the same radial location but propagating in opposite (i.e. ion and electron diamagnetic) directions. These modes have the characteristics of ion-temperature gradient and micro-tearing modes, respectively, and the role of these modes in contributing to thermal transport is under active investigation. The new second more tangential neutral beam injection was observed to significantly modify the stability of two types of Alfven Eigenmodes. Improvements in offline disruption forecasting were made in the areas of identification of rotating MHD modes and other macroscopic instabilities using the Disruption Event Characterization and Forecasting (DECAF) code. Lastly, the Materials Analysis and Particle Probe (MAPP) was utilized on NSTX-U for the first time and enabled assessments of the correlation between boronized wall conditions and plasma performance. These and other highlights from the first run campaign of NSTX-U are described.
Skinner, C.H.; Bedoya, F.; Scotti, F.; Allain, J.P.; Blanchard, W.; Cai, D.; Jaworski, M.; Koel, B.E.
Boronization has been effective in reducing plasma impurities and enabling access to higher density, higher confinement plasmas in many magnetic fusion devices. The National Spherical Torus eXperiment, NSTX, has recently undergone a major upgrade to NSTX-U in order to develop the physics basis for a ST-based Fusion Nuclear Science Facility (FNSF) with capability for double the toroidal field, plasma current, and NBI heating power and increased pulse duration from 1–1.5 s to 5–8 s. A new deuterated tri-methyl boron conditioning system was implemented together with a novel surface analysis diagnostic. We report on the spatial distribution of the boron deposition versus discharge pressure, gas injection and electrode location. The oxygen concentration of the plasma facing surface was measured by in-vacuo XPS and increased both with plasma exposure and with exposure to trace residual gases. This increase correlated with the rise of oxygen emission from the plasma.
The Far-infrared Tangential Interferometer/Polarimeter (FIReTIP) system has been refurbished and
is being reinstalled on the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) to supply
real-time line-integrated core electron density measurements for use in the NSTX-U plasma control
system (PCS) to facilitate real-time density feedback control of the NSTX-U plasma. Inclusion
of a visible light heterodyne interferometer in the FIReTIP system allows for real-time vibration
compensation due to movement of an internally mounted retroreflector and the FIReTIP front-end
optics. Real-time signal correction is achieved through use of a National Instruments CompactRIO
field-programmable gate array.
A reduced semi-empirical model using time-dependent axisymmetric vacuum field calculations is used to develop the prefill and feed-forward coil current targets required for reliable direct induction (DI) startup on the new MA-class spherical tokamaks, MAST-U and NSTX-U. The calculations are constrained by operational limits unique to each device, such as the geometry of the conductive elements and active coils, power supply specifications and coil heating and stress limits. The calculations are also constrained by semi-empirical models for sufficient breakdown, current drive, equilibrium and stability of the plasma developed from a shared database. A large database of DI startup on NSTX and NSTX-U is leveraged to quantify the requirements for achieving a reliable breakdown (Ip ~ 20 kA). It is observed that without pre-ionization, STs access the large E/P regime at modest loop voltage (Vloop) where the electrons in the weakly ionized plasma are continually accelerating along the open field lines. This ensures a rapid (order millisecond) breakdown of the neutral gas, even without pre-ionization or high-quality field nulls. The timescale of the initial increase in Ip on NSTX is reproduced in the reduced model provided a mechanism for impeding the applied electric field is included. Most discharges that fail in the startup phase are due to an inconsistency in the evolution of the plasma current (Ip) and equilibrium field or loss of vertical stability during the burn-through phase. The requirements for the self-consistent evolution of the fields in the weakly and full-ionized plasma states are derived from demonstrated DI startup on NSTX, NSTX-U and MAST. The predictive calculations completed for MAST-U and NSTX-U illustrate that the maximum Ip ramp rate (dIp/dt) in the early startup phase is limited by the voltage limits on the poloidal field coils on MAST-U and passive vertical stability on NSTX-U.
The National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U) will advance the physics basis required for achieving steady-state, high-beta, and high-confinement conditions in a tokamak by accessing high toroidal field (1 T) and plasma current (1.0 - 2.0 MA) in a low aspect ratio geometry (A = 1.6 - 1.8) with flexible auxiliary heating systems (12 MW NBI, 6 MW HHFW). This paper describes progress in the development of L- and H-mode discharge scenarios and the commissioning of operational tools in the first ten weeks of operation that enable the scientific mission of NSTX-U. Vacuum field calculations completed prior to operations supported the rapid development and optimization of inductive breakdown at different values of ohmic solenoid current. The toroidal magnetic field (B_T0 = 0.65 T) exceeded the maximum values achieved on NSTX and novel long-pulse L-mode discharges with regular sawtooth activity exceeded the longest pulses produced on NSTX (tpulse > 1.8s). The increased flux of the central solenoid facilitated the development of stationary L-mode discharges over a range of density and plasma current (Ip). H-mode discharges achieved similar levels of stored energy, confinement (H98y,2 > 1) and stability (beta_N/beta_N-nowall > 1) compared to NSTX discharges for Ip < 1 MA. High-performance H-mode scenarios require an L-H transition early in the Ip ramp-up phase in order to obtain low internal inductance (li) throughout the discharge, which is conducive to maintaining vertical stability at high elongation (kappa > 2.2) and achieving long periods of MHD quiescent operations. The rapid progress in developing L- and H-mode scenarios in support of the scientific program was enabled by advances in real-time plasma control, efficient error field identification and correction, effective conditioning of the graphite wall and excellent diagnostic availability.
Boronization is commonly utilized in tokamaks to suppress intrinsic impurities, most notably oxygen from residual water vapor. However, this is a temporary solution, as oxygen levels typically return to pre-boronization levels following repeated plasma exposure. The global impurity migration model WallDYN has been applied to the post-boronization surface impurity evolution in NSTX-U. A “Thin Film Model” has been incorporated into WallDYN to handle spatially inhomogeneous conditioning films of varying thicknesses, together with an empirical boron conditioning model for the NSTX-U glow discharge boronization process. The model qualitatively reproduces the spatial distribution of boron in the NSTX-U vessel, the spatially-resolved divertor emission pattern, and the increase in oxygen levels following boronization. The simulations suggest that oxygen is primarily sourced from wall locations without heavy plasma flux or significant boron deposition, namely the lower and upper passive plates and the lower private flux zone.
Weller, M.E.; Beiersdorfer, P.; Soukhanovskii, V.; Magee, E.W.; Scotti, F.
Three extreme ultraviolet (EUV) spectrometers have been mounted on the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U). All three are flat-field grazing-incidence spectrometers and are dubbed X-ray and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer (8 ñ 70 ≈), Long-Wavelength Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer (190 ñ 440 ≈), and Metal Monitor and Lithium Spectrometer Assembly (MonaLisa, 50 ñ 220 ≈). XEUS and LoWEUS were previously implemented on NSTX to monitor impurities from low- to high-Z sources and to study impurity transport while MonaLisa is new and provides the system increased spectral coverage. The spectrometers will also be a critical diagnostic on the planned laser blow-off (LBO) system for NSTX-U, which will be used for impurity edge and core ion transport studies, edge-transport code development, and benchmarking atomic physics codes.
A real-time velocity (RTV) diagnostic based on active charge-exchange recombination spectroscopy is now operational on the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) spherical torus (Menard et al 2012 Nucl. Fusion 52 083015). The system has been designed to supply plasma velocity data in real time to the NSTX-U plasma control system, as required for the implementation of toroidal rotation control. Measurements are available from four radii at a maximum sampling frequency of 5 kHz. Post-discharge analysis of RTV data provides additional information on ion temperature, toroidal velocity and density of carbon impurities. Examples of physics studies enabled by RTV measurements from initial operations of NSTX-U are discussed.
Lunsford, R.; Bortolon, A.; Roquemore, A.L.; Mansfield, D.K.; Jaworski, M.A.; Kaita, R.; Maingi, R.; Nagy, A.
By employing a neutral gas shielding (NGS) model to characterize impurity granule
injection the pedestal atomic deposition for three different species of granule:
lithium, boron, and carbon are determined. Utilizing the duration of ablation
events recorded on experiments performed at DIII-D to calibrate the NGS model we
are able to quantify the ablation rate and mass deposition location with respect
to the plasma density profile. The species specific granule shielding constant
is then used to model granule ablation within NSTX-U discharges. Simulations of
300, 500 and 700 micron diameter granules injected at 50 m/sec are presented for
NSTX-U L-mode type plasmas as well as H-mode discharges with low natural ELM
frequencies. Additionally, ablation calculations of 500 micron granules of each
species are presented at velocities ranging from 50 � 150 m/sec. In H-mode type
discharges these simulations show that the majority of the injected granule is
ablated within or just past the steep gradient region of the discharge. At this
radial position, the perturbation to the background plasma generated by the ablating
granule can lead to conditions advantageous for the rapid triggering of an ELM crash