Wednesday, May 22, 2024

‘Greenfield connects ITER and US fusion research at ORNL’


Chuck Greenfield has been appointed as the ITER Research and Development lead for the Fusion Energy Division (FED) at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His primary role will involve organizing and promoting U.S. research within the international ITER project, which is currently being assembled in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France.

ITER is a groundbreaking collaborative effort among scientists and engineers worldwide, aimed at designing, constructing, and assembling a burning plasma experiment to showcase the feasibility of fusion energy. The United States, as a member nation of the ITER project, has access to all technology and data related to ITER and can propose and conduct experiments.

Phil Snyder, the interim FED director, highlighted the importance of leveraging the knowledge and technical information generated by ITER to advance fusion energy research in the U.S., especially at ORNL, where efforts are underway to develop a fusion pilot plant and next-generation fusion energy systems. Greenfield’s extensive experience and expertise in large-scale fusion projects will be instrumental in strengthening the connection between ITER and domestic fusion research.

In his new role, Greenfield will establish a framework for U.S. engineers, technologists, and physicists to participate in various phases of ITER activities and research. He will also facilitate the dissemination of knowledge gained from the project to U.S. researchers and contribute to the development of operational scenarios, control strategies, and risk mitigation plans for ITER’s future operations.

With over 35 years of experience in fusion energy research, Greenfield earned his doctorate in nuclear engineering from the University of Washington and has held various roles at General Atomics, including assistant director of the DIII-D National Fusion Program. He has been involved with the U.S. Burning Plasma Organization since 2011, overseeing research on magnetically confined fusion plasmas.

Expressing his enthusiasm for his new role at ORNL, Greenfield emphasized the lab’s commitment to advancing fusion energy and collaborating with US ITER, as well as the wider fusion energy community, to make fusion a viable energy source.

The United States’ contribution to ITER is managed by US ITER, a DOE Office of Science project led by ORNL in partnership with Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Savannah River National Laboratory.

UT-Battelle oversees ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is a key supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the U.S., addressing critical challenges of our time. For more information, visit

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