Disruption prediction at JET (Joint European Torus)
The sudden loss of the plasma magnetic confinement, known as disruption, is one of the major issue in a nuclear fusion machine as JET (Joint European Torus), Disruptions pose very serious problems to the safety of the machine. The energy stored in the plasma is released to the machine structure in few milliseconds resulting in forces that at JET reach several Mega Newtons. The problem is even more severe in the nuclear fusion power station where the forces are in the order of one hundred Mega Newtons. The events that occur during a disruption are still not well understood even if some mechanisms that can lead to a disruption have been identified and can be used to predict them. Unfortunately it is always a combination of these events that generates a disruption and therefore it is not possible to use simple algorithms to predict it. This thesis analyses the possibility of using neural network algorithms to predict plasma disruptions in real time. This involves the determination of plasma parameters every few milliseconds. A plasma boundary reconstruction algorithm, XLOC, has been developed in collaboration with Dr. D. Ollrien and Dr. J. Ellis capable of determining the plasma wall/distance every 2 milliseconds. The XLOC output has been used to develop a multilayer perceptron network to determine plasma parameters as ?i and q? with which a machine operational space has been experimentally defined. If the limits of this operational space are breached the disruption probability increases considerably. Another approach for prediction disruptions is to use neural network classification methods to define the JET operational space. Two methods have been studied. The first method uses a multilayer perceptron network with softmax activation function for the output layer. This method can be used for classifying the input patterns in various classes. In this case the plasma input patterns have been divided between disrupting and safe patterns, giving the possibility of assigning a disruption probability to every plasma input pattern. The second method determines the novelty of an input pattern by calculating the probability density distribution of successful plasma patterns that have been run at JET. The density distribution is represented as a mixture distribution, and its parameters arc determined using the Expectation-Maximisation method. If the dataset, used to determine the distribution parameters, covers sufficiently well the machine operational space. Then, the patterns flagged as novel can be regarded as patterns belonging to a disrupting plasma. Together with these methods, a network has been designed to predict the vertical forces, that a disruption can cause, in order to avoid that too dangerous plasma configurations are run. This network can be run before the pulse using the pre-programmed plasma configuration or on line becoming a tool that allows to stop dangerous plasma configuration. All these methods have been implemented in real time on a dual Pentium Pro based machine. The Disruption Prediction and Prevention System has shown that internal plasma parameters can be determined on-line with a good accuracy. Also the disruption detection algorithms showed promising results considering the fact that JET is an experimental machine where always new plasma configurations are tested trying to improve its performances.