Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, 47(5A):A19-A40, 2004. Paper Website abstract bibtex
An international experiment, ITER is proposed as the next essential and critical step on the path to demonstrating the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy. ITER would give unique opportunities to explore, in reactor relevant conditions, the physics of α-particle heating, plasma turbulence and turbulent transport, stability limits to the plasma pressure and exhaust of power and particles. Improved understanding of the physical processes occurring in tokamak plasmas give enhanced confidence in ITER achieving its goals. In particular, progress has been made in research to raise the performance of tokamaks, aimed to extend the discharge pulse length towards steady-state operation (advanced scenarios). Advanced scenarios use a modified current density profile, ranging from (i) plasmas that sustain a central region with a flat current density profile (zero magnetic shear), capable of operating stationary at high plasma pressure, to (ii) discharges with an off axis maximum of the current density profile (reversed magnetic shear in the core), able to form internal transport barriers, to increase the confinement of the plasma. The physics of advanced tokamak discharges is described, together with an overview of recent results from different tokamak experiments.