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The major objective of the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) is to understand basic toroidal confinement physics at low aspect ratio and high beta(T) in order to advance the spherical torus (ST) concept. In order to do this, NSTX utilizes up to 7.5 MW of neutral beam injection, up to 6 MW of high harmonic fast waves (HHFWs), and it operates with plasma currents up to 1.5 MA and elongations of up to 2.6 at a toroidal field up to 0.45 T. New facility, and diagnostic and modelling capabilities developed over the past two years have enabled the NSTX research team to make significant progress towards establishing this physics basis for future ST devices. Improvements in plasma control have led to more routine operation at high elongation and high beta(T) (up to 40%) lasting for many energy confinement times. beta(T) can be limited by either internal or external modes. The installation of an active error field (EF) correction coil pair has expanded the operating regime at low density and has allowed for initial resonant EF amplification experiments. The determination of the confinement and transport properties of NSTX plasmas has benefitted greatly from the implementation of higher spatial resolution kinetic diagnostics. The parametric variation of confinement is similar to that at conventional aspect ratio but with values enhanced relative to those determined from conventional aspect ratio scalings and with a B(T) dependence. The transport is highly dependent on details of both the flow and magnetic shear. Core turbulence was measured for the first time in an ST through correlation reflectometry. Non-inductive start-up has been explored using PF-only and transient co-axial helicity injection techniques, resulting in up to 140 kA of toroidal current generated by the latter technique. Calculated bootstrap and beam-driven currents have sustained up to 60% of the flat-top plasma current in NBI discharges.

Additional information

Authors: KAYE S M et al, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton University, Princeton (US)
Bibliographic Reference: An article published in: Nuclear Fusion 45 S168-S180
Availability: This article can be accessed online by subscribers, and can be ordered online by non-subscribers, at:
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