Posted on: 17th May 2010

The EFDA topical group “Magnetohydrodynamics stability and its active control started 2008 with a number of task agreements leading already in 2009 to interesting results. The group activities are coordinated within the work-programme of EFDA, an agreement between European fusion research institutions and the European Commission. During a meeting in March the group reviewed their achievements and planned the future.

The EFDA Topical Group “Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) stability and its active control” met in mid March at JET, Culham for its second general workshop. About 40 scientists from European associations joined the meeting, among them a significant number of young colleagues. The future of ITER is in the hands of these young scientists: They are now working in the present fusion science programme and will see the first plasma in the ITER control room. The meeting reviewed the 2009 achievements of the MHD activities and developed a long-term vision for the work-programme.

“We want to make ITER a success: and for this goal, Europe needs to be a strong player in its construction and its operation. Looking even further into the future, Europe should aim to have the capability to construct a DEMO reactor. These ambitious challenges call for maintaining a broad technological and physics programme.”
Piero Martin

A broad portfolio of topics

The meeting was organized in three parts. The first part consisted of four introductory talks: Lorne Horton, Head of the Close Support Unit Operation and Enhancements Department, welcomed the participants on behalf of the JET leadership. He underlined the strong and efficient link between JET and all EFDA topical groups. Lorne’s introduction was followed by Duarte Borba, Responsible Officer for this Topical Group, who summarized the 2010 EFDA work-programme. Last but not least, Rudi Koslowski, leader of the JET Task Force Magnetohydrodynamics, recalled the major research topics: “In 2008-2009 JET has obtained a large number of key results in our field and addressed a broad portfolio of topics.” Moreover, he emphasized that future campaigns, with JET’s ITER-Like Wall and the new enhancements, will provide even more state-of-the-art MHD experiments in both new Task Forces E1 and E2. At the end of this part Piero Martin presented the guidelines for the work-programme followed by ITER team members giving an overview on the most urgent ITER needs in the field of MHD.

Starting new activities

The second part dealt with the 2009 results achieved within the task agreements. In this year the topical group fostered research activities on disruptions, which is presently the most serious and urgent MHD topic for ITER. Duarte Borba commented: “The EFDA MHD strategy succeeded in starting new activities and creating synergies on such an important topic”, and he added “We will continue our effort to focus resources on disruptions and ELM mitigation, promoting both experimental and modeling activities.”

A long-term roadmap needed

Task agreements

1. Fast Particles Physics
2. Disruptions
3. Sawteeth and Tearing Modes
4. Edge Localised Modes
5. Stability at high beta

The third part of the meeting was used to draw a long-term roadmap: The resulting proposal covered four new cross-cutting initiatives: “3D and non-linear effects”, “Supra-thermal particle physics”, “Control and mitigation” and “Diagnostics”. These topics have been identified to define related strategic needs and issues of commonality, to push integration by fostering common approaches and priorities and to provide a basis for pooling expertise and sharing knowledge between different fields.

Individual sessions on most of the identified topics benefit of contributions from all major European magnetic confinement communities. This broad approach, enriched by an optimum blend between experimental, modeling and theory talks, has produced a very lively and focused discussion.

International partnerships

The European MHD programme needs to be competitive in comparison to a strong and growing international collaboration. An important part of this strategy is the collaboration on the Japanese JT-60SA device which is an international  project involving Japan and Europe. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss with international partners possible projects. Colleagues from the JT-60SA team, from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and the University of Wisconsin provided useful contributions to the workshop with their talks.

The participants left Culham with two tasks: to produce the 2011 work-programme and to prepare a longer-term MHD programme.