First Principle Transport Modeling in Fusion Plasmas: Critical Issues for ITER
Tokamaks aim at confining hot plasmas by means of strong magnetic fields in view of reaching a net energy gain through fusion reactions. Plasma confinement turns out to be governed by small-scale instabilities which saturate nonlinearly and lead to turbulent fluctuations of a few percent. This paper recalls the basic equations for modeling such weakly collisional plasmas. It essentially relies on the kinetic, or more precisely the gyrokinetic, description, although some attempts are made to incorporate some of the kinetic properties, namely, wave-particle resonances, in fluid models by means of collisionless closures. Three main types of micro-instabilities are detailed and studied linearly, namely, drift waves, interchange, and bump-on-tail. Finally, some of the main critical issues in turbulence modeling are addressed: flux-driven versus gradient-driven models, the subsequent impact of mean profile relaxation on turbulent transport dynamics, and the role of large-scale flows, either at equilibrium or turbulence driven, on turbulence saturation and on the possible triggering of transport barriers. The significant progress in understanding and prediction of turbulent transport in tokamak plasmas thanks to first-principle simulations is highlighted.
KeywordsTurbulent Transport Adiabatic Limit Transport Barrier Radial Electric Field Linear Threshold
It is my pleasure to acknowledge colleagues and friends who have most contributed to this paper through numerous enlightening discussions and common work on turbulence and transport for many years: X. Garbet and Ph. Ghendrih, P. Beyer, P.H. Diamond, G. Dif-Pradalier, and V. Grandgirard. Many thanks as well to the students J. Abiteboul, A. Strugarek, D. Zarzoso, and T. Cartier-Michaud. Last but not least, I wish to acknowledge C. Passeron for her precious support on numerical issues.
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