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Nov. 25, 2011
High-pressure plasma is essential for economically competitive fusion reactor. Therefore research and development to produce a heat-insulating layer in the plasma edge region have been extensively carried out on a global basis, by which high plasma-pressure is produced with high reliability. So far, it was reported that the width of the insulation layer (pedestal width) scales as i) the poloidal Larmor radius of thermal ions normalized to the plasma minor radius and ii) poloidal beta. However it was difficult to tell which factor is dominant, which makes it impossible to predict an achievable pressure in the future fusion reactor with high accuracy.
JAEA research Group led by Dr. H. Urano carried out a dedicated mass scan experiments using hydrogen and deuterium plasmas in JT-60, by turning attention to the difference in Larmor radius on mass ratio. As a result, it was successfully clarified that poloidal beta is a dominant factor to determine the pedestal width while week dependence on poloidal Larmor radius was found. This result is applicable to the prediction of ITER performance, which is now under construction in France, as well as to the design of DEMO reactor.
The above achievement was highly regarded across the world, resulting in the winning the prize of the 2011 Nuclear Fusion Award. The winning makes a Japanese big contribution to ITER programme and is the first accomplishment for Asian research group not only for Japanese. The award ceremony will be held at Fusion Energy Conference sponsored by IAEA, which is scheduled in November 2012 in San Diego, USA.
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