Energy News and Updates

General Atomics Energy News and Updates

As a major energy research and development firm, General Atomics’ energy businesses are often the subject of media coverage. We also engage in a variety of outreach efforts to the scientific and academic communities to educate the public on the future of energy. Media professionals seeking more information on these activities should contact GA Director of Business Development Zabrina Johal.


  • DIII-D Scientists Solve Key Challenge for Controlling “Runaway” Electrons in Fusion Plasmas

    Discovery could help control potentially damaging bursts during plasma disruptions

    Scientists at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility have made an important discovery that could significantly improve the reliability of future fusion power plants by helping prevent damaging phenomena known as “runaway” electrons (REs). The research, published in an article today in the journal Nuclear Fusion, discovered new mechanisms that dissipate REs through exploitation of resonances that occur between the high-energy electrons and the magnetic field configuration.

    This improved understanding of RE behavior suggests a pathway toward controlling them in large fusion devices known as tokamaks, such as the ITER experiment under construction in France and the commercial power plants that will follow it.

  • General Atomics Expresses Support for Fusion and Plasma Sciences Community Plan

    Consensus report lays out milestones for achieving fusion energy and advancing basic science

    Practical electricity generation from fusion – the same source that powers the sun and stars – is closer than ever to becoming a reality. A landmark report released earlier today details a plan for how the United States can get there that leverages – but also distinguishes it – from efforts worldwide.

    The Community Plan for Fusion Energy and Discovery Plasma Sciences, released by the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics Community, provides a detailed plan on how to translate fusion and plasma science advancements into commercialized fusion energy and other technologies that benefit society. The report establishes a set of milestones that the U.S. fusion community has agreed should be pursued in its effort to create practical fusion energy.

  • General Atomics and Framatome Join Forces on Nuclear Reactor Channel Boxes

    Project will develop accident-tolerant core components using GA’s SiGA silicon-carbide composite

    “Efforts to increase nuclear plant economics must look at more than just the fuel rods,” said GA Vice President of Nuclear Technology and Materials Christina Back. “This project begins the process of developing a fully robust core by deploying modern materials for critical in-core components.”

  • Focusing Targets Give Over 10x Performance Boost to NIF’s ARC

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have employed compound parabolic targets manufactured by San Diego’s General Atomics to achieve relativistic effects associated with significantly greater laser intensities. This innovation has substantially expanded the experimental capabilities of the National Ignition Facility’s Advanced Radiographic Capability (ARC) laser.

  • DIII-D Researchers Use Machine Learning to Steer Fusion Plasmas Near Operational Limits

    New technique allows sustaining fusion plasmas near peak performance in real time

    Researchers at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility achieved a scientific first this month when they used machine learning calculations to automatically prevent fusion plasma disruptions in real time, while simultaneously optimizing the plasma for peak performance. The new experiments are the first of what they expect to be a wave of research in which machine learning–augmented controls could broaden the understanding of fusion plasmas. The work may also help deliver reliable, peak performance operation of future fusion reactors.

  • Researchers Accelerate Plasma Turbulence Simulations on Oak Ridge Supercomputers to Improve Fusion Design Models

    A team of scientists—including Christopher Holland of theUniversity of California San Diego, Jeff Candy of General Atomics, and Nathan Howard of MIT—are using the world’s smartest and fastest supercomputer, the 200-petaflop IBM AC922 Summit system at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), to better understand turbulence, an important characteristic of plasma behavior that affects performance in fusion devices such as ITER.

  • DIII-D Engineer Honored by Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Alex Nagy, an engineer who for four decades has been working on ways to heat and fuel plasmas in experiments aimed at harnessing the process that powers the sun and stars, was named a Distinguished Engineering Fellow by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) on Dec. 20. Among numerous accomplishments, Nagy led a team of technicians and engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) DIII-D National Fusion Facility at General Atomics (GA) to develop a steerable neutral beam as part of the DIII-D upgrade completed in 2018.

  • General Atomics Researcher Honored for Fusion Engineering

    David Pace recognized as a leading contributor in development of fusion diagnostics

    Dr. David Pace has been selected by the Fusion Power Associates (FPA) Board of Directors to receive its Excellence in Fusion Engineering Award for his leadership within the fusion research community and his work developing fusion diagnostics at multiple international facilities. He presently serves as the Diagnostic Systems Coordinator at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility, operated by General Atomics in San Diego.

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