Future meeting dates

June 19, 2024  Annual Elections Meeting


June 19, 2024  Mehdi Sarram, Energy Security Consulting Group, Annual Elections Meeting, Fighting Climate Change with Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy


April 17, 2024, Tour of former San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Site

A large group had a great time touring the site.


March 20, 2024 - Diablo Canyon continued operation

Al Bates, Diablo Canyon VP – Presented an enlightening review of the reasons for initial plans to close the plant and the changes that led to continued operation of this vital carbon-neutral electrical energy source. The section gave Al the banners pictured below.

February 19, 2024 SDCEC Engineers Week Banquet

Katherine, Florian, and Julia set up a booth and participated in the Engineers week banquet. SDANS was one of the event sponsors.


February 21, 2024 Small Modular Reactors

Ted Quinn will present the Current Status and Role of SMR’s in our Energy Future at the IHOP in Rancho Bernardo. A link to his presentation is available below.

Quinn SMR Presentation


January 17, 2024 - Carbon Capture to Mitigate Climate Change

Fred MacDougall presented a concept for Capturing & Sequestering Carbon from the Atmosphere at the IHOP Restaurant in Rancho Bernardo. 

November 15, 2023 - DIII-D Tour

We participated in an excellent tour of DIII-D tour at General Atomics. A presentation in the

DIII-D conference room was followed by a tour of the facility.


Katherine Partain was also there but was taking the photo.


Tesla coil energizing a chain of gas filled tubes.

October 14, 2023 - Nuclear Now showing

22 Participants viewed a screening of the movie “Nuclear Now” followed by a panel discussion at the University of San Diego. Mehdi SarramChristian Deck of General Atomics, and Jerry Stephenson of SONG Decommissioning contributed insightful remarks/presentations and participated in the panel discussion moderated by Katherine Partain.

The event was cosponsored by the ANS and Department of Energy.

September 20, 2023 - Importance of Communication

Andrew Smith, ANS National, Director of Communication spoke to the section via Zoom regarding the Importance of Communication. Links to PowerPoint and pdf versions of his presentation are appended below.



June 22, 2023 Annual meeting

Election votes were counted and certified by William Weeks and Kevin McLaughlin with 15 ballots and unanimous votes for all candidates. Election Results

Chair                                        Katherine Partain

Vice Chair                                Florian Effenberg

Secretary/Treasurer                Ron Petzoldt

Executive Committee              Ted Quinn

Executive Committee              Julia Taylor


Ron Petzoldt Presented the Treasurer’s report.

Katherine Partain described the section activities of FY 23.

Ben Betzler made the evening’s presentation about the Kaleidos microreactor.

 Radiant Nuclear is working on developing the Kaleidos microreactor, which is a first-of-its-kind clean-energy solution that integrates safe, proven nuclear technologies with cutting-edge engineering techniques from the aerospace and software industries. The 1MW electric power generator, cooling system, reactor, and shielding are all packaged in a single shipping container, facilitating rapid deployment. Radiant is targeting commercial unit production in 2028.  

Local ANS member Mehdi Sarram recently received recognition for 60 years of ANS membership and contributions to the Nuclear Field.

May 17, 2023 - Nuclear Now showing

SDANS showed the new documentary, Nuclear Now via Zoom starting at 6 PM.

April 19, 2023: Tour of the former San Onofre nuclear power plant site

SDANS and the General Atomics Retirees Association (GARA) jointly toured the former San Onofre nuclear power plant site. Participants toured in the three groups pictured below.


A dramatic video of a crane demolition at Unit 2 can be seen below

March 15, 2023 at 5 PM PST How ANS is advancing nuclear science and technology and how you can help.

ANS President Steven Arndt described the current state of ANS and Nuclear Power Generation. He discussed the important roll that our members can play in advocating nuclear science, technology and nuclear power. The link to his presentation is appended below.

ANS San Diego Local Section March 15 2023

March 15, 2023 SONGS Decommissioning Project

This presentation was actually given at the General Atomics Retiree Association meeting, but is very pertinent to our sections mission and activities. The link to Manuel Carmago’s presentation is appended below.

SONGS GARA presentation 03-15-2023

February 19, 2023, Engineers Week Festival Awards Ceremony.

We set up a booth at the Engineers Week Festival and participated in the awards ceremony. We were also among the sponsors for this event. Katherine Partain, Ron Petzoldt and Florian Effenberg attended the meeting.

Later in the week, SDCEC Treasurer, Ken Discenza, received a plaque from SD City Council member Joe LaCava proclaiming Feb 19, 2023 to Feb, 26, 2023 to be Engineering Week in San Diego.  A group of San Diego Engineers, including Katherine Partain, attended the ceremony.

January 3, 2023 - Nuclear Energy and Spent Fuel Storage

Katherine Partain spoke to the Concerned Citizens of Laguna Village.  They invited the members of the San Diego Section to join them for this event.

The subject matter they requested included the nuclear waste at San Onofre, why nuclear power is needed if we as a nation are to get off of fossil fuels ASAP, the advances made in the nuclear structures, plus the material and the handling of nuclear waste, including the US government’s long-term plans for nuclear waste storage.

We met in Clubhouse 7 in the Laguna Woods Village, which is at 24111 Moulton Parkway, Laguna Woods, CA 92537

Click on the link below for a copy of Katherine’s presentation.

Nuclear Fuel Presentation 1-3-2023

September 21, 2022. Tour of the General Atomics DIII-D Fusion Facility.

We participated in this tour with the Society of Women Engineers, (SWE) SD Section.

June 22, 2022, Speakers LT Ryan Kolden and MMNC Redig: Topic: "A day in the Life of a Nuclear Submarine Officer" .

The annual meeting and election were held at University City Round Table Pizza.

Election Results

Chairman Katherine Partain

Secretary/Treasurer Ronald Petzoldt

Executive Committee Florian Effenberg and Ted Quinn

Speaker’s topic “A day in the Life of a Nuclear Submarine Officer” and information about the Navy NUPOC Programs. An overview of the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program and discussion of Navy Nuclear Propulsion and Training.


May 18, 2022 UC Irvine TRIGA reactor tour

Professor Shaka led a group of SDANS members on a tour of their TRIGA reactor. The reactor was operating and has been in place since 1968.

Professor Shaka Standing directly above the reactor pool.

The TRIGA Reactor in the water pool.

TRIGA Control Panel.




February 20-26, 2022 - SDCEC Engineers Week Celebrations.

Ron Petzoldt, Katherine Partain and Florian Effenberg participated in the festivities on February 20, 2022.

SDCEC website https://www.sandiegoengineers.org/

January 26, 2022 - Chernobyl Tour

The first San Diego ANS Zoom meeting of 2022 was held on January 26 at 5 PM. A 20 minute video entitled “CHERNOBYL TOUR | What Do You See 35 Years After a Nuclear Disaster?” was included. Link to video below.


November 17, 2021 Tony Veca - TRIGA International
November 17, 2021
  Tony Veca (from TRIGA International) presented the return of fabrication at the TRIGA Fuel Elements facility in Romans-de-Sur, France and the status of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) for conversion of TRIGA fuel from high to low enrichment in TRIGA reactors.
November 18, 2020 - Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar - President ANS

We were fortunate to have ANS National President, Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar give a presentation entitled, Where is the Love? Why isn’t Nuclear Power Embraced as THE Clean Energy Source?

Mary Lou’s presentation

September 16, 2020, A Broad-ranging Look at the Nuclear Community and the State of Nuclear.

Zoom meeting, Craig Piercy, CEO American Nuclear Society, “A Broad-ranging Look at the Nuclear Community and the State of Nuclear.” An overarching view of nuclear today, the state of nuclear in the modern world, and how the nuclear community is doing at-large.

Piercy ANS SD section talk

June 17, 2020 Annual Meeting and Presentation on Climate Change Emergency

Our Annual SDANS meeting was held on Zoom starting at 6:30 PM on June 17. We started with a business meeting, including the election of officers and executive committee for July 2020 through June 2021. 

 Our speaker was Vojin Joksimovich, speaking on “Climate Change Emergency vs. Nuclear Power”.  Vojin has more than 45 years of experience in nuclear safety, risk assessment and risk management and is a member of our San Diego Section. Link to his presentation below.

Vojin’s Presentation

May 14, 2020 Climate change presentation to WAC

Our long-time member Mehdi Sarram was the speaker for a Zoom meeting of the San Diego World Affairs Council. He presented a talk about fighting climate change with nuclear power and renewable energy. Link to his presentation below.

WAC Fighting climate change

February 19, 2020, Songs Decomissioning Update

Manuel Camargo; Principal Manager, Strategic Planning SONGS Decommissioning
Southern California Edison

His presentation provided a big-picture perspective on SONGS decommissioning with update on key work streams, including:
1.  Transferring used nuclear fuel to passive storage,
2.  Dismantlement work that is just getting started and will progress for eight years,
3.  Efforts underway to accelerate the transfer of used fuel to a licensed off-site facility, and
4.  External engagement and education, including recent NRC inspections.

Link to his presentation below

2020 SONGS Decommissioning ANS Presentation – FINAL

January 22, 2020 - Making Nuclear Cool Again

Steven Curtis, past president of the Las Vegas sections of both the Health Physics Society and the American Nuclear Society.  He spoke about “Moving Nuclear Forward through Recycling Commercial Used Nuclear Fuel (UNF)”

A link to his presentation is appended below.

Make Nuclear Cool Again, Powerpoint presentation

November 20, 2019 Ron Pontes, San Onofre Decommissioning Project
Ron Pontes, the manager of the SONGS Decommissioning project for Southern California Edison

Synopsis:  On October 17, 2019 the California Coastal Commission approved Southern California Edison’s (SCE) coastal development permit (CDP) for SONGS decommissioning. The CDP is necessary for SCE to proceed with decontamination & dismantlement (D&D) of the structures at SONGS.

Starting D&D promptly is important because SCE already has a qualified contractor that is ready to begin work. Plus they can leverage today’s favorable disposal rates to the benefit of customers, and because it allows the current workforce which is knowledgeable about the site to participate in decommissioning. On the other hand, failure to obtain approval of a reasonable CDP would be a significant negative impact to SONGS decommissioning. If conditions or mitigation measures interfere with the performance of the decommissioning work, SCE may be forced to delay the project for many years. Conditions that significantly increase the cost of decommissioning could even jeopardize the sufficiency of the Trust Funds.

October 16, 2019 John Kotek, NEI VP of Policy Development & Public Affairs
Topic: Getting to New Nuclear in the U.S.

John discussed NEI’s efforts to preserve today’s nuclear plants, to raise awareness of the value of nuclear energy, and to chart a course for technology innovation and new construction. A link to his presentation is included below.

September 18, 2019, Submarine tour, USS Annapolis, SSN 760.

A tour of the nuclear-powered submarine at the Naval Base Point Loma, organized by Captain Warren Branges and our chair Katherine Partain. Seventeen participants were divided into three groups for very interesting, personalized guided tours.

June 19, 2019, The Regulatory Environment for a Safety Conscious Work Environment

Annual Meeting.  FY 2020 elections.

Speaker Willis Frick.
Title of Willis’ talk and synopsis:  
“The Regulatory Environment for a Safety Conscious Work Environment and the Nuclear Safety Culture at Nuclear Power Plants”
Mr. Frick discussed his experiences conducting Safety Culture Assessments to NRC regulations at SONGS, and as an industry peer, at several other nuclear power plants, including Browns Ferry and Pilgrim.  He included how the safety culture at nuclear power plants differs from other industries.
Mr. Frick’s Bio:
Mr. Frick holds a Bachelor of Science from Ursinus College at Collegeville, PA. After 4 years of commissioned service in the US Navy, serving on the 
USS Truxtun CGN035, and qualified for the operation, supervision, and the maintenance of the naval nuclear propulsion plant, Mr. Frick transitioned to civilian life.  He spent 30 plus years in management and consulting services in nuclear safety culture management and surveys.  He is a member of the Safety Culture Addendum Advisory Group and has co-authored several major safety culture documents and guidelines for NEI and the Institute for Nuclear Power Operation, and other groups.
May 22, 2019 Advanced Manufacturing Techniques – Key to SMR Deployment Around the World

Ted Quinn

Consultant & Former ANS National President

Advanced Manufacturing Techniques – Key to SMR Deployment Around the World

This talk focused on the major elements in Small Modular Reactor (SMR) deployment that depend on advanced manufacturing techniques, to gain economic competitiveness with large light water reactors  (LWR) and lower the risk of deployment for utilities in the U.S. and ownership potential around the world. Advanced techniques used for LWR and lessons learned were addressed as well as newer concepts from other industries (shipbuilding, etc) that can be applied as part of the transition from First-Of-A-Kind (FOAK) to Nth-Of-A-Kind (NOAK).  Ted Quinn is President of Technology Resources, a member of the Advisory Board for NuScale Power and a Past President of the American Nuclear Society.  He holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University, a MS in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and served as a Naval Nuclear Qualified Engineer.


Quinn SMR ANS San Diego ANS Talk 05222019

Presentation file.

April 17, 2019 - Teach the Geek to Speak: Public Speaking for Engineers.
April 17, 2019 Neil Thompson.   
Talk title: Teach the Geek to Speak: Public Speaking for Engineers
You’re delivering a presentation, and it’s not going well. Some audience members are fiddling with their phones. Others are nodding off. Some are even staring into space. Can you relate? As a fellow engineer, I certainly can.
Engineers have a lot of technical expertise, but often struggle with communicating it in a way that decision makers and those outside their space can appreciate. Miscommunication often ensues. How can an engineer keep this from happening? I plan on going over tips engineers can immediately implement into their presentations so that an audience pays attention, making the presentation worth everyone’s time. 
After one too many failed presentations in front of senior management, Neil Thompson knew that something had to change. A product development engineer in the medical device industry, Neil improved his public speaking skills through self-reflection and plenty of feedback. He now helps engineers and scientists with their public speaking via his company, Teach the Geek. To learn more about him, check out teachthegeek.com and his YouTube channel, youtube.teachthegeek.com.


March 20, 2019 Navy Nuclear Propulsion
US Naval Nuclear Power Program – One Operator’s Experience and Perspective”
Abstract: An overview of the US Naval Nuclear Power Program from the experience 
and perspective of a former operator, supervisor, maintainer and technical compliance agent.  
Speaker: Warren G. Branges, Commander US Navy Retired.
Biography:  Warren G. Branges served eleven years as an Electronics Technician and
Nuclear Operator, completing tours as a Reactor Operator on USS HALIBUT (SSN 587)
and USS TUNNY (SSN 682), and instructor assignments at Naval Nuclear Power School,
and worked for Naval Reactors at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, conducting technical 
oversight of nuclear submarine overhauls and refuelings.  Warren served as Commander 
Submarine Group SEVEN Representative in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, 
and conducted submarine maintenance and repair in Guam and other Pacific locations.  
Commander Branges retired in 2000 after thirty-three years of Naval Service.
February 20, 2019 Media Differences Between Washington State & Southern California

John Dobken, Southern California Edison

His topic was: “ Media Differences Between Washington State & Southern California, Two states, different challenges. Communicating about nuclear energy.”

John Dobken is the media relations manager at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.     Prior to joining SONGS, John was external engagement manager at Columbia Nuclear Generating Station in Washington state. John began his career in broadcast news after graduating from San Diego State University with a journalism degree. 
January 16, 2019 - Power Plant Licensing Process Evolution In Response to Changes in the Electricity Markets

Harold spoke about how nuclear plant licensing continues to be affected by the evolution in these markets and how this affects the prospect for future new plants.

Harold was responsible for the Part 50 Operating License (OL) for SONGS 1, for the Construction Permit (CP) and OL for SONGS 2 & 3 and for the CP for the planned Vidal HTGR during his 35 years at SCE.  During that same time, Harold worked on the development of the Part 52 Design Certification (DC) and Combined Operating License (COL) processes as a member of a NEI working committee.  More recently, as chair of the AP1000 subcommittee at the ACRS, he is currently responsible for its licensing activities, including both the Westinghouse DC and the Vogtle 3 & 4 COL.  Also, he is involved currently in the ongoing NuScale DC process and the evaluation of further evolution in the process for licensing future power plants.  Finally, he has been involved at the DOE and in California for more than 20 years in the evolution of wholesale electricity markets.  Harold spoke about how nuclear plant licensing continues to be affected by the evolution in these markets and how this affects the prospect for future new plants.

Harold Ray joined the American Nuclear Society in 1987. Ray became the 48th president of the Society in 2002. He is a member of the Decommissioning and Environmental Services and the Operations and Power Divisions.

November 28, 2018: Maritime Nuclear Applications.
Dr. Alexander DeVolpi spoke about naval/marine reactors.  Dr. DeVolpi served in U.S. Navy, retiring, as LCDR-USNR and spent 40 years as a physicist on the professional staff of Argonne National Laboratory.   He is the author of several books about Cold War nuclear weaponry, including Cold War Brinkmanship: Nuclear Arms, Civil Rights, Government Secrecy (680pp, Amazon, 2017) and most recently Nuclear Brinkmanship: Challenges for the Trump Presidency (226pp, 2018)
October 24, 2018: Transition at the NRC: the Future of the Agency
   Ms. Marlayna Vaaler, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Decommissioning Project Manager, and the lead for the decommissioning activities associated with the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, the La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor, and the General Atomics TRIGA reactors.
    Transition at the NRC: The Future of the Agency During a Time of Decommissioning Reactors, Decreasing Budgets, and Developing Technologies.
September 20, 2018: Global Nuclear Waste Disposal
Dr. Mehdi Sarram, President of the Energy Security Consulting Group. 
There are 450 nuclear plants in the world, located in 31 countries. A brief discussion was provided as to how 21 of these countries have planned or are planning to dispose of the nuclear waste generated from their nuclear plants. The types of nuclear waste disposal, wet and dry will be included as well as a brief discussion on countries that are planning for a permanent national Deep Geological Repository.
Link to the presentation below.

Global NW disposal Sept 2018

June 20, 2018: California Protons Cancer Therapy Center.
Our speaker was Ping-Shun Wong, Ph.D., Director of Physics at the California Protons Cancer Therapy Center in San Diego.  He is board-certified in therapeutic and diagnostic radiological physics.  The title of his presentation will be: “Overview of Proton Beam Therapy: Physics, Biology, Clinical and Social-Economic Perspectives from Theoretic and Practical Considerations “
Proton Beam Therapy (PBT) is a technology for delivering conformal external beam radiation with positively charged atomic particles to a well-defined treatment volume. A proton beam deposits relatively less radiation energy upon entering the body compared to a photon beam. The energy deposition of the proton beam then rapidly increases over a narrow range of tissue at a desired depth to produce an intensive dose distribution pattern called the Bragg peak. Beyond the Bragg peak, energy and dose deposition rapidly decrease, resulting in the absence of any significant exit dose deposited in normal tissue beyond the target. An overview of PBT will be presented, not only from the theoretic physics point of view but also from the social-economic perspective in the eye of a medical physicist.
Ping-Shun Wong, Ph.D., Director of Physics at California Protons Cancer Therapy Center in San Diego, is board-certified in therapeutic and diagnostic radiological physics. Dr. Wong has more than 30 years experience in photon (1986–2008) and proton radiation therapy (2009–present).  He has served as senior faculty at Northwestern University Memorial Hospital and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Chief Physicist/Professor at Eastern Virginia Medical School, Chief Physicist/Professor at Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute, and Visiting Professor at Chang Gung University Proton Therapy Center in Taiwan (2016–2017).
May 23, 2018: San Onofre - Nuclear Science and Political Intrigue
Jeff McDonald, the investigative reporter for the San Diego Union Tribune who uncovered the possibility of collusion between San Onofre management and the California Energy Commission.
 Jeff summarizes his talk:  “The long-planned upgrade to the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station was supposed to add up to four decades to the useful life of the power plant north of Oceanside. Instead, the $680 million Replacement Steam Generator Project killed the plant, cost ratepayers and shareholders $5 billion-plus and generated a maelstrom of civil litigation and criminal investigations that continue to this day. It also made urgent a nagging issue that engineers, regulators and environmentalists have bickered over for years: What to do with all that waste? Six years after the RSGs failed, the questions remain and the answers are elusive.”
February 8, 2018: Songs Decommissioning Status and Plans
Al Bates, the manager of NRC regulatory affairs and San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station oversight at Southern California Edison, delivered an update on behalf of SCE of the current status of SONGS and of the plans and progress of SONGS decommissioning. Related presentations can be found at
15 November 2017: The Status of Global Comercial Nuclear Power, Vojin Joksimovich
The following topics will be addressed: Climate Change Agreement (COP-21), Carbon footprints for electricity generation sources, Nuclear electricity generation projections, 2017 World Commercial nuclear status, Roadblocks: Cost overruns, severe accidents, high-level waste management, Post Fukushima Japan,  An overview of the US nuclear program including Westinghouse’s bankruptcy, and Snapshots of the Nuclear Leaders: Russia, China, and France.
Link to the presentation – Vojin, November 2017
Vojin Joksimovich Bio:
Our speaker will be Dr. Vojin Joksimovich.  Vojin graduated from Belgrade University, Yugoslavia, in 1961 with a degree in electrical and nuclear engineering. He immigrated to the UK in 1965 and earned his doctorate in nuclear engineering from the Imperial College, London University. He has over 45 years of experience in the field of nuclear safety, risk assessment, risk management, nuclear education, non-nuclear risk assessment applications, including 26 years management experience with the Accident Prevention Group (APG), NUS/Halliburton, General Atomics and Westinghouse in the US, Atomics Power Constructions in the UK and Energoprojekt in Serbia. At GA he was the manager of the HTGR Safety and Reliability Branch and the Systems Department Manager. He authored and presented over 125 papers on nuclear safety at international conferences. Recently his chapter on the Fukushima Daiichi Causes and Consequences was published by the Nova Science Publishers.
As a foreign policy analyst, Vojin has published over 120 newspaper columns, op-eds, essays, blogs and delivered a similar number of presentations at the World Affairs Councils, Universities, US Congress, etc. He was a two-term president of the Serbian Unity Congress. He has written three books, “Kosovo Crisis”, “The Revenge of the Prophet” and “Kosovo is Serbia”.  
July 25, 2017: X-Energy and the Xe-100 Reactor
  “X-Energy and the Xe-100 Reactor” by Harlan Bowers of X-Energy. There are several advanced small modular nuclear reactor concepts currently under development with private funding.  One of the most exciting is the small modular High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor (HTGR) concept being developed by X-Energy.   Bio:  As president of X-energy, Harlan Bowers oversees the development of a smaller, safer, next-generation nuclear reactor that expands reliable, zero-emission nuclear energy into entirely new markets. Harlan has over 32 years of experience managing very large, complex new business initiatives and highly technical engineering development programs. Much of his background has involved aerospace systems projects with NASA and other customers, including leading a $130M/year NASA engineering services contract, delivering systems for Hubble Space Telescope servicing, satellite remote sensing, and International Space Station operations. Harlan received a B.S. in Aerospace and Ocean Engineering from Virginia Tech and an MBA from the University of Maryland, College Park.   Overview: X-energy started in 2009 with the goal of making energy available to a broader world market – energy that is secure, safe, and affordable. This goal evolved into the development of a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) – the Xe-100. The Xe-100 is a 200 MWthermal HTGR targeted at mid-size coal plant replacement and industrial process heat applications. But X-energy is also focused on development of the fuel required for the Xe-100 – pebbles with Uranium Oxycarbide TRIstructural ISotropic (TRISO) particles to deliver greater performance and a better safety case than previously achieved on other HTGRs. Harlan Bowers, X-energy President, will review the company origins, the current contracts, skills and capabilities, their market analysis, as well as review some of the technical features of their reactor and fuel. Xe-100 Presentation
July 6, 2017: On the Path to Aneutronic Fusion
There are several advanced nuclear reactor concepts, both fission and fusion, currently under development with private funding.  One of the most exciting is the advanced fusion concept being developed by Tri Alpha Energy right here in Orange County.   Come learn about it!
Our speaker is Matthew Thompson, a Lead Scientist at Tri Alpha Energy Inc., the world’s largest privately-funded fusion energy development effort, backed by $500 million in private capital. He currently heads the diagnostics group and directs the efforts of twenty physicists and engineers working on forty state-of-the-art plasma instrument projects vital to the company’s experimental program. Dr. Thompson transitioned to private industry ten years ago with his first Senior Scientist position at Tri Alpha Energy working on energy conversion and magnetic sensor technologies. Prior to becoming an industrial physicist, he worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on picosecond resolution electron diffraction, and at both SLAC and Fermilab on dielectric and plasma wakefield accelerators. Outside the lab, Dr. Thompson is heavily involved in the mentorship of young scientists, leadership activities of the American Physical Society, and science advocacy.  He holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in physics from Stanford University, and both a MS and PhD in physics from the University of California, Los Angeles, where his graduate work focused on experimental plasma physics.
Tri Alpha Energy’s purpose is to deliver world-changing clean fusion energy technology as fast as possible.  Starting with the end in mind – a fusion solution that delivers practical science, engineering integration and competitive economics – Tri Alpha Energy developed a unique approach combining advanced particle accelerator and plasma physics.  The C-2U experiment at Tri Alpha Energy seeks to test these ideas by studying the evolution of advanced beam-driven field-reversed configuration (FRC) plasmas sustained by neutral beam (NB) injection for 5+ ms.  C-2U is an upgrade to the earlier C-2 [1] experiment with an improved neutral beam injection (NBI) system which can deliver a total of 10+ MW of hydrogen beam power, by far the largest ever used in a compact toroid plasma experiment.  This increase in beam power, combined with our earlier innovations in FRC stabilization, successfully produced high-performance, advanced beam-driven FRCs sustained for times significantly longer than the characteristic plasma decay times.  This accomplishment represents a significant advance towards the scientific validation of the FRC-based approach to fusion. This presentation will provide an overview of the C-2U device and recent experimental advances.
[1] M.W. Binderbauer et. al, Phys. Rev. Lett 105, 045003 (2010)


May 25, 2017: The Secretary of Energy Advisory Board’s October 2016 Task Force Report on The Future of Nuclear Power
Abstract: The Secretary of Energy charged the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB)Task Force to describe a new nuclear power initiative that would lead to a situation in the period 2030 to 2050 where one or several nuclear technologies were being deployed at a significant rate. The Task Force has assumed a scale for this initiative of 3,000 to 5,000 megawatts electric (MWe) annually. The Task Force identified major barriers that need to be overcome for such an initiative to be successful and described a comprehensive program for the initiative. The Task Force believes that the principal justification for this initiative is the vital contribution nuclear power can make to reduce worldwide carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon emission charges or equivalent production payments are necessary to improve the economic competitiveness of nuclear power compared to natural gas generation. Our speaker: Dr. Joe Turnage who is retired from UniStar Nuclear Energy where he served as Sr. VP for Strategy & Infrastructure. He currently serves on advisory boards and as a consultant to government & industry. Dr. Turnage will discuss the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board report on the Future of Nuclear Power which describes the transition from today’s reliance largely on light water reactors to one or more new nuclear power generation technologies. Presentation
December 8, 2016 : Reactor Based Mo-99 Supply Using Selective Gas Extraction
Abstract: Production of medical isotopes has become an important and growing use of nuclear energy. Technetium 99m (Tc-99m), the daughter product of Molybdenum 99 (Mo-99), is the most commonly utilized medical radioisotope in the world, used for well over 30 million medical diagnostic procedures annually and comprising some 80% of all diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures. Come learn about its production. Our Speaker: Robert Buckingham oversees New Technology Ventures for the Nuclear Technologies and Materials Division within the Energy & Advanced Concepts Group at General Atomics
October 25, 2016 : Advances in Nuclear Power: The Energy Multiplier Module (EM²) and Accident Tolerant Fuel.
Our Speaker: Dr. Christina Back, Energy Group Vice President for Nuclear Technologies and Materials at General Atomics.