The Research Proposal defence of the BSC fusion group’s PhD student Tomás Bensadón took place on Wednesday 20th of October via Zoom. The topic of Tomás’ PhD research project is “Analysis of ITER performance with different heating schemes using predictive integrated plasma modelling“. The project is supervised by the group’s leader ICREA Research Prof. Dr. Mervi Mantsinen, tutored by UPC Prof. Dr. Lluís Batet and funded by EUROfusion.
The presentation was attended and judged by the examination panel, which was formed by Prof. Dr. Shimpei Futatani, Associate Professor at UPC and researcher on Plasma Physics for fusion research, acting as President; Dr. Jerónimo García acting as Secretary; Dr. Mireille Schneider, Plasma Physicist at ITER and expert in integrated modelling and simulations of heating and current drive processes, as member of the panel. Dr. Mervi Mantsinen also attended the presentation.
The presentation lasted 20 minutes, during which the candidate introduced some basic fusion concepts such as tokamaks, the International Thermonuclear Experimental reactor (ITER) and Ion Cyclotron Radio Frequency (ICRF) heating. The objective of the project, using the heating code PION inside the European Transport Solver (ETS) to study and predict how the plasma transport will be affected when ICRF heating is applied to ITER plasmas, was also stated. In the methodology, the tools previously introduced were explained; PION as a fast, iterative ICRF modelling code, the ITER Integrated Modelling & Analysis Suite (IMAS) as a platform supporting research activities and plasma operations at ITER and ETS as an integrated modelling workflow developed inside the IMAS framework.
Finally, the progress and results were presented. Here, the candidate showed results from two simulations carried out with a JET discharge and an ITER synthetic shot, illustrating said results with plots of the power density absorbed and the collisional power density transfer. The presentation was followed by some questions from the committee members, mainly regarding the integration of PION into the ETS and the inclusion of ICRF+NBI synergy and L-H transition modelling into the scope of the project.
After the committee members discussed in a separate virtual room for a brief time, they communicated the candidate that his Research Proposal was satisfactory and that he was fit to continue with the project.