Plasma turbulence underpins a wide range of phenomena, including the formation of stars and galaxies; the properties of the solar wind, and – the focus of this programme – the confinement of plasmas in tokamaks. It is complicated by feedback mechanisms that couple space and time scales spanning several orders of magnitude. The full problem is extremely challenging, and so to make progress for real world applications we must develop reduced models that capture the essential physics. The goal of the TDoTP programme is to address this by advancing our understanding of these multi-scale interactions at a fundamental science level. This will be achieved by coupling analytic theory, advanced computation and experimental capabilities, including the newly upgraded MAST-U tokamak.
The size and capital cost of a tokamak fusion power plant depend to a large extent on the effectiveness of the confinement which, in turn, depends on turbulence. We will exploit our improved understanding of turbulence to identify techniques to further enhance tokamak confinement, seeking to optimise the performance of JET and next step tokamaks such as ITER, as well as inform the design of more compact fusion power plants with reduced capital cost.