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Tore Supra antenna to be fitted into EAST

-Robert Arnoux

With some maintenance and adaptation, the ITER-like antenna that Tore Supra tested in 2007-2008 will fit perfectly into the Chinese tokamak EAST. (Click to view larger version...)
With some maintenance and adaptation, the ITER-like antenna that Tore Supra tested in 2007-2008 will fit perfectly into the Chinese tokamak EAST.
Last Wednesday, Tore Supra shipped a large parcel to China. The four-metre-long box, weighing 2.3 tons, was addressed to EAST, the superconducting tokamak that the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Plasma Physics (ASIPP) operates in Hefei.

The box contained an "ITER-like" Ion Cyclotron Resonance Heating (ICRH) prototype antenna that Tore Supra, the tokamak that CEA-Euratom operates in Cadarache, had tested during a six-month campaign in 2007-2008 in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the US.

The collaboration was recently extended to China; now the joint experimental program to prepare for ITER operations will continue on EAST as soon as the antenna is fitted to the machine.

"This antenna is what we call 'load resilient'," explains Gilles Lombard, a Tore Supra engineer specialized in high frequency heating. "This means that it can withstand strong charge variations like the ones that Edge Localized Modes (ELMs) generate on the edges of the plasma."

ITER personnel from China gather around the ITER-like antenna as it is beinng packed before shipment to Hefei via Shanghai. (Click to view larger version...)
ITER personnel from China gather around the ITER-like antenna as it is beinng packed before shipment to Hefei via Shanghai.
As a circular tokamak with no divertor, Tore Supra does not access the "H Mode" that generates ELMs. "However, the charge variations can be mimicked by injecting gas into the plasma at supersonic speed," explains Xavier Litaudon, Head of Plasma Heating and Confinement at CEA-IRFM, the Research Institute on Magnetic Fusion that operates Tore Supra.

Tore Supra used this technique to establish the "proof of principle" of the ITER-like antenna and to validate the codes for electromagnetic calculations that are used to design the actual ITER antenna.

The antenna—which had been in storage for three years—needed a bit of dusting. With some maintenance and adaptation, it will fit perfectly into EAST, a machine about the same size as Tore Supra ... but "H mode" capable.

The parcel should arrive in Shanghai by mid-October and be delivered to Hefei in the subsequent weeks.


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