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Impact of gas injection location and divertor surface material on ITER fusion power operation phase divertor performance assessed with SOLPS-ITER

by Jaesun Park, Xavier Bonnin, R. A. Pitts, Jeremy D Lore
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Nuclear Fusion
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The ITER divertor design and performance assessment, primarily based on the SOLPS-4.3 burning plasma database (Pitts R. et al 2019 Nucl. Mater. Energy 20 100696), assumes the use of beryllium (Be) as the divertor surface material and the injection of gas from the main chamber top. However, the current ITER baseline favors gas injection from the more toroidally symmetric sub-divertor region. This paper evaluates the implications of these assumptions for divertor performance in the ITER fusion power operation phase. The impact of the divertor surface material and the gas injection location on the main ions mirrors the hydrogen only low power phase scenario shown in Park al (2020 Nucl. Fusion 61 016021). However, during burning plasma operation, extrinsic impurity seeding will be required. In the case of neon (Ne), studied here, impurity retention is influenced by both the divertor surface material and the fueling location. Neon leakage increases due to more energetic reflection from tungsten than beryllium, but equivalent divertor performance can be achieved by adjusting the neon seeding rate. While the impurity seeding location does not affect the distributions of impurity or radiation, the fueling location does. Top fueling provides local ionization sources mainly in the mid-SOL under detached conditions, enhancing divergences of the flux there (source-driven flow), bringing stagnation points close to the fueling location, and equilibrating flows towards both targets. In contrast, the global flow pattern (in the absence of fluid drifts) in the case of sub-divertor fueling is biased towards the inner target. Impurity flows, driven by force balance, largely mirror those of the main ion flow, including the stagnation point. The case with top fueling enhances Ne retention and corresponding radiation in the outer divertor, effectively reducing the total and peak target heat fluxes by 20%–40%, compared to the case with divertor fueling. Meanwhile, the case with outer target fueling also achieves similar reductions by enhancing plasma-neutral interactions. These results suggest the possibility that the selection of the fueling location and throughput can be used as an actuator to control impurity divertor retention and divertor radiation asymmetry.