DIII-D National Fusion Facility

Tokamak Operations and Engineering

The DIII-D National Fusion Facility, operated by General Atomics for the U.S. Department of Energy, is a world-leading research facility that is pioneering the science and innovative techniques that will enable the development of nuclear fusion as an energy source for the next generation.

DIII-D is the product of evolving fusion research at GA going back to the 1950s. Early tokamak designs, starting in the 1960s, were circular in cross-section, but GA scientists developed the “doublet,” a configuration with an elongated hourglass-shaped plasma cross-section. The Doublet I, II, and III tokamaks in the 1970s and 1980s showed that this approach allowed for a hotter and denser stable plasma. Further research led to a modification of Doublet III in the mid-1980s to DIII-D’s current D-shaped cross-section. Successes with this configuration inspired many other devices to adopt the D-shape, including JET (UK), TCV (Switzerland), ASDEX-U (Germany), JT-60U (Japan), KSTAR (Korea), and EAST (China).

The DIII-D National Fusion Facility

Bringing a Star to Earth: Fusion Energy Research at DIII-D

With support from the DOE and substantial international collaboration, DIII-D has been conducting groundbreaking fusion research since the mid-1980s. DIII-D has over 100 participating institutions and a research team of more than 600 users. Research at DIII-D has produced hundreds of peer-reviewed articles that have advanced the state of the art in the understanding of fusion plasmas, as well as countless presentations at scientific and technical conferences.

DIII-D’s success has had substantial influence on the design of ITER, an international project currently under construction in France with a goal of demonstrating high-power fusion operation, including key physics and operational issues. The DIII-D team maintains a comprehensive program of refurbishment, modernization, and system enhancements to keep its facility at the forefront of fusion science. This has made DIII-D one of the most productive tokamak facilities in the world.

GA participates in the Department of Energy Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) and the Community College Internship (CCI) programs. For more information click here

DIII-D National Fusion Facility 11-month Engineering Upgrade

In May 2018, the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego began an 11-month engineering upgrade to enable a new generation of experiments.

DIII-D Time-lapse of Engineering Upgrade

DIII-D National Fusion Facility time-lapse shows construction work of 11-month engineering upgrade.