Simulation of ITER Full Field ICWC Scenario in JET: RF Physics Aspects

ITER as a superconducting fusion machine needs efficient wall conditioning techniques for application in the presence of a permanent high magnetic field mainly for (i) reducing the in-vessel impurity content, (ii) surface hydrogen isotope exchange and (iii) controlling the in-vessel long term tritium retention. Encouraging results recently obtained with Ion Cyclotron Wall Conditioning (ICWC) in the present-day tokamaks and stellarators have raised ICWC to the status of one of the most promising techniques available to ITER for routine inter-pulse and overnight conditioning with the ITER main ICRF heating system in the presence of the permanent high toroidal magnetic field. This paper is dedicated to a milestone experiment in ICWC research: the first simulation of ICWC operation in an equivalent ITER full-field scenario and the assessment of the wall conditioning effect on the carbon wall in the largest present-day tokamak JET. We address in this paper the following main topics: (i) an analysis of the RF physics of ICWC discharges, (ii) the optimization of the operation of ICRF antennas for plasma startup and (iii) an outlook for the performance of ICWC in ITER using the ICRF heating system. Important operational aspects of the conventional ICRF heating system in JET (the so-called A2 antenna system) for use in the ICWC mode are highlighted: (i) the ability of the antenna to ignite the cleaning discharge safely and reliably in different gases, (ii) the capacity of the antennas to couple a large fraction of the RF generator power (>50%) to low density (~1010-1012 cm-3) plasmas and (iii) the ICRF absorption schemes aimed at improved RF plasma homogeneity and enhanced conditioning effect. Successful optimization of the JET ICWC discharge parameters (BT = 3.3T, f = 25MHz) resulted in a reliable operation of the JET A2 antennas and a high conditioning efficiency in a scenario imitating closely ITER full field operation (BT = 5.3 T, f = 40MHz) with the fundamental Ion Cyclotron Resonance for deuterium (w = wcD+) located on-axis. Numerical modeling with the 3-D electromagnetic code Micro Wave Studio, a 1-D RF full wave code and a 0-D plasma code allows extrapolating the results obtained on JET and other present-day tokamaks to ITER and provides good prospects for the use of the ITER ICRF antennas for ICWC purposes.
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