Iter irons out plasma kinks

10 July 2007

Scientists at Germany’s Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics have developed a new computer code that will enable them to calculate and predict kinks appearing on the exterior of electro-magnetic fields containing the super-heated plasma core of the Iter fusion reactor. These magnetic bumps and dents will ease the confinement of the plasma, reducing its energy yield, and could also weaken reactor stability. So it is essential that technical fixes based on either a superconducting wall or a standard steel wall correct these inconsistencies.

However, until now, Iter scientists have lacked the computing code that enables them to predict and describe these magnetic kinks in three dimensions. A European Commission note said: “The new code is expected to help ensure that the right stability processes are being used.” It has already been used to calculate that the Iter reactor with the stabilising walls could remain stable with plasma pressure 50% higher than without.


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