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Recent progress in shattered pellet injection technology in support of the ITER disruption mitigation system*...

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Nuclear Fusion
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Shattered pellet injection (SPI) has been selected as the baseline technology for the disruption mitigation (DM) system for ITER. Typical SPI utilizes cryogenic cooling to desublimate low pressure (<100 mbar) gases onto a cold zone within a pipe gun barrel, forming a cylindrical pellet. Pellets are dislodged from the barrel and accelerated using either a gas driven mechanical punch or high-pressure light-gas delivered by a fast-opening valve. SPI technology developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is currently deployed and operational on DIII-D, JET, and KSTAR. These SPI systems are used in experiments for physics scaling to ITER thermal mitigation and runaway electron dissipation/avoidance. The pellet sizes used for these machines are in the range of 4 to 12.5 mm in diameter with length to diameter ratios (L/D) of ∼1.5. The current plan for ITER SPI is to utilize pellets that are 28.5 mm in diameter with an L/D of ∼2. The large pellet sizes, high steady-state magnetic fields, and limitations of operating in a radiation environment render much of the current technology unusable. In addition to technology improvements, a deeper understanding of pellet material properties, formation, and release is being developed for implementation in future SPI designs, specifically ITER.