The DIII-D National Fusion Facility at General Atomics in San Diego is starting up after undergoing eight months of upgrades that included new and improved plasma control and diagnostic systems. The DIII-D National Fusion Facility is an Office of Science scientific user facility, operated by General Atomics for the US Department of Energy.

The upgrades are expected to support experiments performed at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), which is being built in France. They include a range of new diagnostic instruments as well as enhancements to the way that the plasma is heated. Engineers have also installed a “shape and volume rise” divertor, which consists of a series of modular divertor configurations that the DIII-D will now test when experiments restart. The new divertor will allow plasma shapes to be studied that were not possible with DIII-D’s previous divertor geometry.

“The upgrades made to DIII-D over the last eight months provide us with exciting new capabilities and key enhancements to existing systems for studying fusion energy,” said DIII-D Director Richard Buttery. “Our scientists will be able to use our upgraded systems and diagnostics to answer key questions on commercial industry–relevant technology, materials, and operations, as well as continue our support of ITER and advancement of foundational scientific understanding.”

DIII-D’s plasma control system lets researchers shape fusion plasmas during experiments. Upgrades to its computational capabilities include 32 new processing cores and that will allow for new and increasingly complex real-time control, diagnostics, and analysis techniques in support of research on DIII-D. The upgrades include a mix of new instruments and new support systems for existing instruments.