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In this paper, the basic theory of runaway electron production is reviewed and recent progress is discussed. The mechanisms of primary and secondary generation of runaway electrons are described and their dynamics during a tokamak disruption is analysed, both in a simple analytical model and through numerical Monte Carlo simulation. A simple criterion for when these mechanisms generate a significant runaway current is derived, and the first self-consistent simulations of the electron kinetics in a tokamak disruption are presented. Radial cross-field diffusion is shown to inhibit runaway avalanches, as indicated in recent experiments on JET and JT-60U. Finally, the physics of relativistic post-disruption runaway electrons is discussed, in particular their slowing down due to emission of synchrotron radiation, and their ability to produce electron-positron pairs in collisions with bulk plasma ions and electrons.

Additional information

Authors: HELANDER P, EURATOM/UKAEA Fusion Association, Culham Science Centre, Abingdon (GB);ERIKSSON L-G, Association EURATOM-CEA, CEA/DSM/DRFC, CEA-Cadarache, St. Paul lez Durance (FR);ANDERSSON F, Department of Electromagnetics, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg (SE)
Bibliographic Reference: An article published in: Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 44 (December 2002) B247-B262
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