General Atomics Awarded Contract to Manufacture Superconducting Magnets


Jul 21, 2011

SAN DIEGO – General Atomics (GA) was awarded a subcontract by UT-Battelle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, home to the US ITER Project Office, and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, to produce seven superconducting magnets, six of them to be configured as the Central Solenoid for the ITER Tokamak fusion experiment. ITER is an experimental facility that aims to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion energy for the commercial power grid. The goal is to produce fusion power that is at least ten times greater than the external power delivered to heat the plasma. ITER is now under construction in southern France as a joint project of the European Union, India, Japan, People's Republic of China, Russia, Republic of South Korea and the United States.

The Central Solenoid is a key system for ITER; it drives 15 million amperes of electrical current in the fusion plasma to help confine it. Each of the seven Central Solenoid modules GA is to fabricate will contain 6.5 kilometers of superconducting cable, will be four meters in diameter and two meters tall, and weigh 110 tons. The superconducting cable will be provided by Japan. The ITER Central Solenoid will be the world's largest pulsed superconducting magnet.

For this project, GA will employ about 80 engineers and technicians in the San Diego area. Additionally, numerous subcontractors in the United States and Europe will participate. Fusion powers our sun and the stars, and when realized on earth, it will be an ideal source of energy.

There is an endless fuel supply on earth to support the production of fusion energy, as well as existing electrical grids to support large-scale electricity distribution. Fusion energy emits no greenhouse gases, is inherently safe, and poses no long-term waste disposal issues.

About General Atomics

General Atomics is a San Diego-based innovation firm with a 55-year history of providing successful solutions to environmental, energy, and defense challenges. GA, the location of the nation's largest magnetic confinement experiment, the DIII-D National Fusion Facility, has been performing fusion energy research for over fifty years for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, and is a supplier of several state-of-the-art technologies used in the world's fusion programs. GA also makes the fusion targets for the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the world's largest inertial fusion experiment. In October 2012, GA will host in San Diego the International Atomic Energy Agency's Fusion Energy Conference, the main international biennial fusion conference. For more information, please visit


Nancy Hitchcox

(858) 455-3951

Doug Fouquet

(858) 455-2173

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