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Based on the analysis of data from the numerous dedicated experiments on plasma disruptions in the TEXTOR tokamak the mechanisms of the formation of runaway electron (RE) beams and their losses are proposed. The plasma disruption is caused by a strong stochastic magnetic field formed due to nonlinearly excited low-mode-number magneto-hydro-dynamics (MHD) modes. It is hypothesized that the RE beam is formed in the central plasma region confined by an intact magnetic surface due to the acceleration of electrons by the inductive toroidal electric field. In the case of plasmas with the safety factor
the most stable RE beams are formed by the outermost intact magnetic surface located between the magnetic surface
and the closest low-order rational surface
. The thermal quench (TQ) time caused by the fast electron transport in a stochastic magnetic field is calculated using the collisional transport model. The current quench (CQ) stage is due to the particle transport in a stochastic magnetic field. The RE beam current is modelled as a sum of a toroidally symmetric part and a small-amplitude helical current with a predominant
component. The REs are lost due to two effects: (i) by outward drift of electrons in a toroidal electric field until they touch the wall and (ii) by the formation of a stochastic layer of REs at the beam edge. Such a stochastic layer for high-energy REs is formed in the presence of the
MHD mode. It has a mixed topological structure with a stochastic region open to the wall. The effect of external resonant magnetic perturbations on RE loss is discussed. A possible cause of the sudden MHD signals accompanied by RE bursts is explained by the redistribution of runaway current during the resonant interaction of high-energetic electron orbits with the
Experimental evidence supporting the theory of hot tail runaway electron (RE) generation has been identified in TEXTOR disruptions. With higher temperature, more REs are generated during the thermal quench. Increasing the RE generation by increasing the temperature, an obvious RE plateau is observed even with low toroidal magnetic field (1.7 T). These results explain the previously found electron density threshold for RE generation.
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