General Fusion Corporation will locate its U.S. headquarters in Oak Ridge as the company advances plans for a commercial pilot plant, Tennessee officials and company executives announced Wednesday.
The headquarters decision was announced Wednesday by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe, and General Fusion Corporation executives.
General Fusion Corporation is based in Vancouver, Canada. The company says fusion could provide a carbon-free power source that would meet the growing global energy demand while fighting climate change.
The U.S.-based subsidiary of General Fusion Incorporated will initially invest $539,000 and create 20 new jobs in Anderson County during the next five years, a press release said. It’s the first private fusion company to establish an office in Tennessee, General Fusion said. The new headquarters in Oak Ridge will be near Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a science and energy lab that is home to the U.S. ITER program. ITER is an experimental fusion device being built in southern France through an international collaboration and planned to be the first such device to produce net energy.
In Oak Ridge, General Fusion said it will collaborate with “world-leading fusion scientists and tap into key engineering talent.”
“We are harnessing the immense breadth of fusion resources located here in Oak Ridge to help us transform the world’s energy systems for a low-carbon future,” said Christofer Mowry, chief executive officer of General Fusion. “Our expansion into Tennessee embodies the spirit of the recent National Academies of Sciences report, which calls on government and private industry to invest and collaborate now to deploy fusion power in the 2035-2040 timeframe. Oak Ridge is one of the primary centers for energy innovation in the U.S. With this announcement, we intend to make it a cornerstone of General Fusion’s global network of partners preparing fusion to be the clean energy technology of choice for the world.”
General Fusion said it and ORNL recently partnered to study plasma diagnostics to improve the quality of the plasma used to create fusion, and that work will advance the design and operation of General Fusion’s commercial machine.
The company said it is developing a practical and economical approach to what is known as magnetized target fusion to produce fusion energy.
“The company’s MTF technology puts it on the fastest path to commercialization, and on course to power homes, businesses, and industry with clean fusion energy by the early 2030s,” General Fusion said.
This will be the company’s first operations in the United States.
“Founded in 2002, General Fusion is working to transform the world’s energy supply with practical fusion energy,” the press release said. “The company’s new U.S. headquarters will enhance its Technology Commercialization Program, managing collaborations with national laboratories such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory, universities, and the U.S. government.”
“Tennessee is known as a leader in innovation thanks to the world-renowned establishments that call Oak Ridge home,” Lee said. “This investment from General Fusion will enhance technology at ORNL and further strengthen the highly skilled workforce in Anderson County.”
“General Fusion is leading the way to create a future where fusion energy is not only possible, but a plentiful source of clean, carbon-free energy,” said U.S. Representative Chuck Fleischmann, a Tennessee Republican whose district includes Oak Ridge. “Once open, their U.S. headquarters will create dozens of highly technical and highly paid jobs that will impact and grow Oak Ridge’s local economy.
Research into fusion seeks to combine atoms to produce power. Nuclear energy is now produced using fission, which splits atoms.
Fusion is the same process that powers the sun and creates huge amounts of energy. It can occur, for example, when two hydrogen atoms fuse to form one helium atom. The energy created by fusion is several times greater than that produced by fission, and fusion doesn’t produce highly radioactive fission products, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
“Fusion reactions are being studied by scientists, but are difficult to sustain for long periods of time because of the tremendous amount of pressure and temperature needed to join the nuclei together.”
Learn more about General Fusion at generalfusion.com.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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