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Towards Diagnostics for a Fusion Reactor

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1 Author(s)
Costley, A.E. ; Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, Abingdon, UK

The requirements for measurements on modern tokamak fusion plasmas are outlined, and the techniques and systems used to make the measurements, usually referred to as “diagnostics”, are introduced. The basics of three particular diagnostics - magnetics, neutron systems, and a laser based optical system - are outlined as examples of modern diagnostic systems, and the implementation of these diagnostics on a current tokamak (JET) are described. The next major step in magnetic confinement fusion (MCF) is the construction and operation of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), which is a joint project of China, Europe, Japan, India, Korea, the Russian Federation, and the U.S. Construction has begun in Cadarache, France. It is expected that ITER will operate at the 500 MW level. Because of the harsh environment in the vacuum vessel where many diagnostic components are located, the development of diagnostics for ITER is a major challenge - arguably the most difficult challenge ever undertaken in the field of MCF diagnostics. The main elements in the diagnostic step are outlined using the three chosen techniques as examples. Finally, the step beyond ITER to a demonstration reactor, DEMO, that is expected to produce several GWs of fusion power is considered and the impact on diagnostics outlined. It is shown that the applicability and development steps needed for the individual diagnostic techniques will differ. The challenges for DEMO diagnostics are substantial and a dedicated effort is required to find and develop new techniques, and special techniques appropriate to the DEMO environment. It is argued that the limitations and difficulties in diagnostics should be a consideration in the optimization and designs of candidate DEMOs.

Published in:

Plasma Science, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:38 ,  Issue: 10 )