General Atomics Physicist at White House Energy Summit

Speaking on Advancing Technology Safety and Low-cost Energy

WASHINGTON, DC. – 9 November 2015 – Speaking at the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy today, physicist Dr. Christina Back of General Atomics (GA) highlighted the urgency of developing next-generation fast-gas reactors with new materials to enhance safety and ensure energy security.

As GA's Director of Nuclear Technologies and Materials, Dr. Back specializes in developing new heat-resistant ceramics to enable delivery of cost-competitive clean energy with unprecedented safety via the innovative gas-cooled reactor, the Energy Multiplier Module or EM2.

EM2 waste-to-energy fast-gas reactor being developed by General Atomics with unprecedented safety innovations

She participated as one of five expert panelists at a forum spotlighting the Obama Administration's commitment to advanced nuclear energy and maintaining U.S. technology leadership in the industry. Dr. Back emphasized during her remarks that nuclear energy is the dominant energy source that is sustainable, compatible with 21st century power grids and free of greenhouse gases

Panelists featured nuclear energy industry leaders including John Kotek, Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy in the Department of Energy. The invited audience included leaders in academia, government, labor, environmental organizations, the nuclear industry, non-governmental organizations, think tanks and the investment community.

The panel focused on innovations in nuclear energy, with Dr. Back explaining that the design of EM2 draws on GA's 60 years of experience in designing and building safe reactors, and aims to solve four big challenges: safety, waste, economics and nonproliferation.

"Nuclear energy is important for the security of our country," said Dr. Back from the White House conference room, noting that to turn new technology innovation into clean-energy reality, "We need investment and support from the DOE and Congress and the nation to understand what the challenges are, but also to understand what the huge payoff and benefits are for our country."

EM2 is a gas-cooled fast reactor designed to deliver low-cost nuclear energy by using a high-efficiency system, a "convert-and-burn" fuel cycle able to produce 265 megawatts-electric, in a compact modular design. It incorporates industry-leading safety and nonproliferation features and can run on nuclear waste.

The White House Summit on Nuclear Energy was billed by officials as a forum for highlighting the Administration's commitment to nuclear energy as a clean energy solution and "for maintaining U.S. leadership in nuclear energy to realize economic competitiveness, national security and nonproliferation objectives."

GA continues to be a leader in fission and fusion focused on a wide range of energy solutions. The DIII-D National Fusion Facility, operated by GA for the U.S. Department of Energy, is the largest magnetic fusion device in the nation and one of the largest in the world. GA is also a leading manufacturer of precision technology for inertial confinement fusion.

About General Atomics

General Atomics is a San Diego-based innovation firm with more than a half-century of successful solutions for energy, environmental and defense challenges. GA specializes in performing innovative R&D and transforming conceptual results into practical systems – groundbreaking technologies ranging from the TRIGA research reactor to the Predator-series unmanned aircraft. For more information, see

For more information contact:

Lisa Petrillo, Strategic Communications GA Energy and Advanced Concepts
858/455-3474 | 858/997-8921

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