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(TH/4-6) Predicting the Behaviour of Magnetic Reconnection Processes in Fusion Burning plasma Experiments

F. Porcelli1), S.V. Annibaldi1), D. Borgogno1), R. Coelho1), D. Grasso1), P. Buratti2), E. Giovannozzi2), F. Califano3), F. Pegoraro3), E. Lazzaro4), M. Ottaviani5), J.J. Ramos6), R. Verastegui6), E. Rossi7), A.I. Smolyakov8)
1) Burning Plasma Research Group, INFM and Politecnico di Torino, Italy
2) Ass. ENEA/EURATOM, Frascati, Italy
3) Istituto Nazionale Fisica della Materia, University of Pisa, Italy
4) Istituto di Fisica del Plasma, Ass. CNR/ENEA/EURATOM, Milano, Italy
5) DRFC, Ass. CEA/EURATOM, Cadarache, France
6) PSFC, M.I.T., Cambridge, MA, USA
7) University of Texas at Austin, USA
8) Dep. of Physics and Eng. Physics, Univ. of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

Abstract.  Magnetic reconnection in weakly collisional plasma regimes, that are relevant burning plasma tokamak experiments, is discussed. In particular: 1) It is shown that the sawtooth crash time is determined by electron compressibility and the electron inertia skin depth; 2) Irreversibility in collisionless reconnection is introduced by a spatial phase mixing process of conserved fields; 3) Driven reconnection in the vicinity of a magnetic separatrix is discussed, and an interpretation of the VTF magnetic reconnection experiment at MIT is offered; 4) Drift-tearing modes in weakly collisional regimes are shown to be stabilised by coupling with drift-acoustic waves, which strikes a note of optimism as far as the stability of ITER-FEAT against neoclassical tearing modes is concerned; 5) A further stabilising effect for these modes is shown to be associated with sheared plasma flows; 6) Peculiar sawtooth traces in the FTU experiment may also be interpreted in terms of non-rigid plasma rotation in the plasma cemtral region within the mixing radius.

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IAEA 2003