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A major objective of the experimental programme in the last phase of the W7-AS stellarator was to explore and demonstrate the high-beta performance of advanced stellarators. MHD-quiescent discharges at low impurity radiation levels with volume averaged beta-values of up to [beta] = 3.4% have been achieved. A very important prerequisite was the attainment of the high density H-Mode (HDH) regime. This was made possible by the installation of extensive graphite plasma facing components designed for island divertor operation. The co-directed neutral beam injection provided increased absorbed heating power of up to 3.2 MW in high beta plasmas with Beta less than or as much as 1.25 T. The anticipated improved features concerning equilibrium and stability at high plasma beta could be verified experimentally by the comparison of x-ray data with free boundary equilibrium calculations. The maximum beta found in configurations with a rotational transform around t = 0.5 is determined by the available heating power. No evidence of a stability limit has been found in the accessible configuration space, and the discharges are remarkably quiescent at maximum beta, most likely due the increase of the magnetic well depth. An increase in low m/n MHD activity is typically observed during the transition towards high beta. The beneficial stability properties of net-current-free configurations could be demonstrated by comparison with configurations where a significant inductive current drive was involved. Current driven instabilities such as tearing modes and soft disruptions can prevent access to beta-values as high as in the currentless case. The experimental results indicate that optimized stellarators such as W7-X can be considered as a viable option for an attractive stellarator fusion reactor.

Additional information

Authors: ZARNSTORFF M C ET AL, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton (US);KOLESNICHENKO Y I, Institute for Nuclear Research, Kyiv (UA);LUTSENKO VV, Institute for Nuclear Research, Kyiv (UA);YAKOVENKO Y V, Institute for Nuclear Research, Kyiv (UA);OSAKABE M, National Institute for Fusion Science, Oroshi-cho, Toki (JP);SPONG D A, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge (US);WELLER A ET AL, Max-Plank-Institut für Plasmaphysik, IPP-Euratom Association, Garching (DE), Greifswald (DE), Berlin (DE)
Bibliographic Reference: An article published in: Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion 45 (2003), pp. A285-A308
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