As part of the ITER design review, a reassessment of the specifications underlying the design of the vertical stabilization system (VS) was performed. Recent results from experiments, aimed at the evaluation of the feasibility of the ITER reference scenarios, have raised several concerns regarding mostly the ramp-up and ramp-down phases of the pulse. The main issue is the value of the internal inductance li which may reach values outside the range 0.7-1, considered as reference for the ITER control system design. Similar concerns apply to the low current L-mode plasmas, needed to the exploitation of the machine towards the development of the 15 MA pulse. The performance of the reference vertical stabilization system, under the revised conditions may be marginal, in particular if the effect of plasma generated noise on the velocity measurement is considered. A reliable and robust VS is mandatory to guarantee the operation of ITER at the reference elongation and plasma current values. To avoid de-scoping of the machine mission, several solutions have been proposed to improve the VS performances, ranging from an upgrade of the maximum voltage available to the present external coils system, to the introduction of in-vessel passive and/or active conductors. The paper presents an overview of the modelling and experimental effort aimed at the assessment of the baseline ITER VS and analyses the proposed solutions to improve the system performance. © 2009 M. Cavinato.
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