Achieving steady-state plasma operation at high plasma temperatures is one of the important goals of worldwide magnetic fusion research. High temperatures of approximately 1-2 keV, and steady-state plasma sustainment operations have been reported. Recently the steady-state operation regime was greatly extended in the Large Helical Device (LHD). A high-temperature plasma was created and maintained for 54 min with 1.6 GJ in the 2005FY experimental programme. The three-dimensional heat-deposition profile of the LHD helical divertor was modified, and during long-pulse discharges it effectively dispersed the heat load using a magnetic axis swing technique developed at the LHD. A sweep of only 3 cm in the major radius of the magnetic axis position (less than 1% of the major radius of the LHD) was enough to disperse the divertor heat load. The steady-state plasma was heated and sustained mainly by hydrogen minority ion heating using ion cyclotron range of frequencies and partially by electron cyclotron of fundamental resonance frequency. By accumulating the small flux of charge-exchanged neutral particles during the long-pulse operation, a high energy ion tail which extended up to 1.6 MeV was observed. This is the first experimental evidence of high energetic ion confinement of MeV range in helical devices. The long-pulse operations lasted until a sudden increase in radiation loss occurred, presumably because of metal wall flakes dropping into the plasma. The sustained line-averaged electron density and temperature were approximately 0.8 × 1019 m-3 and 2 keV, respectively, at a 1.3 GJ discharge (#53776) and 0.4 × 1019 m-3 and 1 keV at a 1.6 GJ discharge (#66053). The average input power was 680 kW and 490 kW, and the plasma duration was 32 min and 54 min, respectively. These successful long operations show that the heliotron configuration has a high potential as a steady-state fusion reactor.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nuclear and High Energy Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics