Magnetic Fusion Energy

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. The DIII-D Program is a cornerstone element in the national fusion program strategy.

The DIII-D Program is a large international program, with over 90 participating institutions and a research team of nearly 475 users. General Atomics operates DIII-D for the Department of Energy through the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences as a true user facility. DIII-D research has been recognized a record four times with the American Physical Society Excellence in Plasma Physics Prize.

General Atomics has been conducting magnetic fusion research since the 1960s and has been a pioneer 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, such as JET (U.K.), TCV (Switzerland), Asdex (Germany), and JT-60 (Japan).

DIII-D has had a profound impact on the redesign of ITER, a joint international research and development project 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.

Research on DIII-D is open to proposals from all countries, with which the DOE has a cooperative agreement. Worldwide, over 550 research proposals were received for the 2009-2010 research campaign. Funding-constrained runtime means about 100 research proposals can get time in any year; hence, the research backlog is generally about four to five years.

Fusion power in action – A quick tour of the progress being made by fusion scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Lab and General Atomics on a new clean-energy supply that is virtually unlimited. Includes rare footage from inside the fusion chamber.