Secretary of Energy Moniz Urges Continued Work on ITER Fusion Reactor

Secretary of Energy Moniz Urges Continued Work on ITER Fusion Reactor

General Atomics is Building ITER's Central Solenoid, the Heart of the Fusion Reactor

SAN DIEGO, CA – 26 May 2016 – Dr. Jeff Quintenz, Senior Vice President of General Atomics' Energy Group, issued the following statement on Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz's report released today recommending continued U.S. support for ITER, the world's largest magnetic fusion device designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy based on the same principle that powers our sun and stars:

"General Atomics applauds Secretary Moniz's recommendation to continue U. S. support for ITER in today's report. We are proud to be participants in this major international project whose goal is to demonstrate that nuclear fusion can be harnessed to provide a near limitless, safe source of clean energy for our world. The success of this important project requires continued U. S. support and the technical contributions of some of our best scientists and engineers.

Secretary Moniz's report highlighted the significant progress made recently at ITER and emphasized that ITER remains our best option for demonstrating sustained burning plasma, which, as he states, is 'a necessary precursor to demonstrating fusion energy power.'"

General Atomics is involved in the building of several components for ITER. The central solenoid, the super-magnet at the core of the ITER device, is currently being fabricated at our facility in Poway, CA. When completed, it will be among the most powerful magnets ever built with each of its six modules capable of containing the equivalent energy of 1,000 cars racing 100 MPH.  Each module is seven feet tall and 14 feet in diameter made from four miles of superconducting cable. 

When completely assembled, the five-story, 2 million pound magnet will drive 15 million amps of electrical current, enough to light 15 million light bulbs, to create the forces necessary to compress ITER's plasma producing approximately 500MW of fusion power. ITER's success will prove that nuclear fusion can produce virtually limitless safe, clean and renewable energy.

General Atomics is also participating in other areas of ITER's development including the design, development and manufacturing of several diagnostics to measure important parameters of the ITER plasma.  In addition to these manufacturing efforts, General Atomics operates DIII-D, the largest magnetic fusion experiment in the U.S. to validate the scientific and technical basis for ITER. General Atomics' work on DIII-D, and on pursuing the success of ITER, makes it an industry leader in fusion energy.

Secretary Moniz's report is available here.  For more information on General Atomics' work on ITER, or to speak with Dr. Jeff Quintenz or Dr. Tony Taylor, Vice President and Director of Magnetic Fusion Energy, please contact Julie Harris at (858) 455-2635.  Work on the central solenoid is taking place in Poway, CA, and observers can be invited to see its progress, subject to availability. 

About General Atomics:

San Diego-based General Atomics and its affiliated companies now constitute one of the world's leading resources for high-technology systems ranging from the nuclear fuel cycle to electromagnetic systems, remotely operated surveillance aircraft, airborne sensors, and advanced electronic, wireless and laser technologies.

About U.S. ITER

U.S. participation in ITER is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science (Fusion Energy Sciences) and managed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, with contributions by partner labs Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Savannah River National Laboratory. For more information, see usiter.org. ORNL is supported by the DOE Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the U.S., and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, see science.energy.gov.

For more information contact:

Julie Harris
(858) 455-2635