Characteristics and underlying mechanisms for plasma current spikes, which have been frequently observed during the thermal quench of JT-60U disruptions, were investigated through tokamak simulation code simulations including the passive shell effects of the vacuum vessel. Positive shear and reversed shear (PS and RS) plasmas were shown to have various current spike features in the experiments, e.g. an impulsive increase in the plasma current (positive spike) in the majority of thermal quenches, and a sudden decrease (negative spike), that has been excluded from past consideration, as an exception. It was first clarified that the shell effects, which become significant especially at a strong pressure drop due to the thermal quench of high βp plasmas, play an important role in the current spike in accordance with the initial relation of the radial location between the plasma equilibria and the vacuum vessel. As a consequence, a negative current spike may appear at thermal quench when the plasma is positioned further out from the geometric centre of the vacuum vessel. It was also pointed out that a further lowering in the internal inductance, in contradiction to previous interpretation in the past, is a plausible candidate for the mechanism for positive current spikes observed even in RS plasmas. The new interpretation enables us to reason out the whole character of current spikes of JT-60U disruptions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas