Dr. Kathy McCarthy, Associate Lab Director for the Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate, ORNL, will talk on "ITER and the Path to Fusion Energy," REGISTER HERE

March 12, 2021

To register, CLICK HERE.

Delivering energy from fusion is considered one of the most significant challenges for engineering in this century. Fusion power has been demonstrated for brief periods of time, but there is still a ways to go to achieve necessary confinement periods, plasma densities and power densities for energy delivery.

To support an essential step towards fusion energy, the international ITER project will demonstrate an industrial scale 500 MW burning plasma. The ITER facility is under construction in southern France, with tokamak assembly now underway. Components are arriving regularly from all the ITER partners: China, European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States. As an ITER partner, the United States is providing 12 essential hardware systems, including superconducting magnets, plasma heating systems, and diagnostics, to enable ITER operations and science.

ITER is impacting many areas of fusion science and engineering, and is also an important element in the path to realizing fusion energy as a practical source of carbon-free electricity. Recent national reports on fusion are emphasizing a deliberate path for fusion technology and plasma science, with an emphasis on an aggressive schedule for a fusion pilot plant. Opportunities for scientists and engineers are also continuing to grow in both public and private sectors.

Dr. Kathy McCarthy, Associate Laboratory Director for the Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate, joined the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) after three years as Vice President for Science and Technology and Laboratory Director for the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, where she oversaw a staff of 650 and grew the labs’ commercial work. She previously held a variety of engineering and leadership roles at Idaho National Laboratory (INL), including Director of Domestic Programs in INL’s Nuclear Science and Technology Directorate, Director of the Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program Technical Integration Office, and National Technical Director for the Systems Analysis Campaign for DOE Office of Nuclear Energy’s Fuel Cycle R&D Program.

Dr. McCarthy earned her Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a major field of fusion engineering and minor fields of nuclear science and engineering and physics. She was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2019 and has received two American Nuclear Society (ANS) presidential citations and her awards include the 1996 ITER US Home Team Leadership Award, and the 1994 David Rose Award for Excellence in Fusion Engineering. McCarthy served on the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee from 1999 to 2013 and on the US ITER Technical Advisory Committee from 2010 to 2013, and has held numerous ANS leadership positions.