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DREAM: A fluid-kinetic framework for tokamak disruption runaway electron simulations

Journal article, 2021

Avoidance of the harmful effects of runaway electrons (REs) in plasma-terminating disruptions is pivotal in the design of safety systems for magnetic fusion devices. Here, we describe a computationally efficient numerical tool, that allows for self-consistent simulations of plasma cooling and associated RE dynamics during disruptions. It solves flux-surface averaged transport equations for the plasma density, temperature and poloidal flux, using a bounce-averaged kinetic equation to self-consistently provide the electron current, heat, density and RE evolution, as well as the electron distribution function. As an example, we consider disruption scenarios with material injection and compare the electron dynamics resolved with different levels of complexity, from fully kinetic to fluid modes. Program summary: Program Title: DREAM Developer's repository link: https://github.com/chalmersplasmatheory/DREAM Licensing provisions: MIT Programming language: C++, Python Nature of problem: Self-consistently simulates the plasma evolution in a tokamak disruption, with specific emphasis on runaway electron dynamics. The runaway electrons can be simulated either as a fluid, fully kinetically, or as a mix of the two. Plasma temperature, current density, electric field, ion density and charge states are all evolved self-consistently, where kinetic non-thermal contributions are captured using an orbit-averaged relativistic electron Fokker-Planck equation, which couples to the plasma evolution. In the typical use case, the electrons are represented by two distinct populations: a cold fluid population and a kinetic superthermal population. Solution method: The system of equations is solved using a standard multidimensional Newton's method. Partial differential equations—most prominently the bounce-averaged Fokker–Planck and current diffusion equations—are discretized using a high-resolution finite volume scheme that preserves density and positivity.

Runaway electrons

Tokamak disruptions

Fokker-Planck