The mission of the DIII-D Research Program is to establish the scientific basis for the optimization of the tokamak approach to fusion energy production, harnessing the natural power of the Sun to create a clean and virtually unlimited energy source on Earth. The DIII-D National Fusion Facility program is a cornerstone element in the national fusion program strategy.
The DIII-D Program is a large international program, with more than 90 participating institutions. General Atomics operates the San Diego-based faciility for the Department of Energy through the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences. Fortified by a team of some 475 researchers, DIII-D is a true user facility. DIII-D research has been recognized a record five times with the American Physical Society Excellence in Plasma Physics Prize more than any program
General Atomics has pioneered magnetic fusion research since the 1960s and has been a leader in the toroidal magnetic confinement device called a tokamak. More specifically, this work has been with non-circular cross-section tokamaks including Doublet II and Doublet III and today with DIII-D. This early work led to the creation of similar machines worldwide, including JET (U.K.), TCV (Switzerland), Asdex (Germany) and JT-60 (Japan).
DIII-D has had a profound impact on the redesign of ITER, the largest international scientific endeavor in history that aims to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power. DIII-D's non-circular cross-section and versatile experimental capability has contributed to the development of the physics basis for key ITER issues and advanced ITER operation. GA is currently building the heart of ITER, its central solenoid power system that will be the largest semiconducting pulsed magnet in the world.
Research on DIII-D is open to proposals from all countries under cooperative agreement with the DOE. Worldwide, more than 550 research proposals are received each year. However, lack of funding constrains the runtime of the facility, so only about 100 research proposals can get time to run experiments on the tokamak per year