In March 1998, the LHD project finally completed its eight year construction schedule. LHD is a superconducting (SC) heliotron type device with R = 3.9 m, ap = 0.6 m and B = 3 T, which has simple and continuous large helical coils. The major mission of LHD is to demonstrate the high potential of currentless helical-toroidal plasmas, which are free from current disruption and have an intrinsic potential for steady state operation. After intensive physics design studies in the 1980s, the necessary programmes of SC engineering R&D was carried out, and as a result, LHD fabrication technologies were successfully developed. In this process, a significant database on fusion engineering has been established. Achievements have been made in various areas, such as the technologies of SC conductor development, SC coil fabrication, liquid He and supercritical He cryogenics, development of low temperature structural materials and welding, operation and control, and power supply systems and related SC coil protection schemes. They are integrated, and nowadays comprise a major part of the LHD relevant fusion technology area. These issues correspond to the technological database necessary for the next step of future reactor designs. In addition, this database could be increased with successful commissioning tests just after the completion of the LHD machine assembly phase, which consisted of a vacuum leak test, an LHD cooldown test and a coil current excitation test. These LHD relevant engineering developments are recapitulated and highlighted. To summarize the construction of LHD as an SC device, the critical design with NbTi SC material has been successfully accomplished by these R&D activities, which enable a new regime of fusion experiments to be entered.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics