General Atomics researchers in San Diego's D-IIID control room

Energizing the future: General Atomics’ San Diego impact

Dec 05, 2023 - Kyle Winnick

You might know General Atomics for its aircraft and space systems. But did you know its innovation is leading the way to a clean energy future?

Founded in San Diego in 1955 on an empty field overlooking the Pacific Ocean, General Atomics has since grown to more than 12,500 global employees and high-tech facilities on five continents that drive fusion research and high-temperature materials technology development.

Here in San Diego, where much of its operations sit, General Atomics has become known for its innovative spirit. With our region’s exceptional quality of life and proximity to world-class education, it’s building the clean energy revolution.

San Diego technology with a global influence

As the world’s largest private firm working in fusion energy, General Atomics is leveraging San Diego’s expertise in science and technology to develop sustainable, reliable carbon-free energy for future generations by harnessing heat from nuclear fusion reactions.

“Fusion is more environmentally friendly than any other resource,” says Zabrina Johal, General Atomics’ senior director of strategic development. “Unlocking the potential of fusion energy represents a monumental leap forward, offering a future free from harmful emissions, eliminating radioactive nuclear waste, and alleviating the need for traditional fuel mining as fusion fuel is sourced from abundant seawater.”

General Atomics and its team of engineers and scientists conduct groundbreaking fusion research, operating San Diego’s DIII-D National Fusion Facility on behalf of the Department of Energy (DOE).

The ultimate goal? Design and build commercial fusion power plants that could provide sustainable, carbon-free energy for generations to come.

Make clean energy your job

Many of General Atomics’ employees call San Diego home—and so can you. Explore local career opportunities with openings for mechanical engineers, technicians, systems analysts, and more.

“Choosing a career in fusion energy means contributing to a sustainable and inspiring journey to meet humanity’s future energy demands,” Zabrina says. The team considers several essential factors for selecting the right candidates: Deep technical knowledge and experience, diversity, a track record of effective collaboration, leadership potential, and strong communication skills, just to name a few. It’s not just scientists and engineers who will drive our clean energy future—General Atomics hires marketing, finance, HR, and operations professionals, among many others.

Like many San Diego companies, General Atomics prioritizes its team’s long-term professional development. Employees are given the opportunity to continue their education with specific training associated with job responsibilities, tuition reimbursement (in 2023, up to $5,250 per year for undergraduate programs and $10,000 per year for graduate programs), and a variety of internal courses that focus on career and professional development.

Additionally, General Atomics ensures that its company processes, such as succession planning and mentoring, incorporate equity for everyone and provide an opportunity to increase career growth among diverse and underrepresented professionals.

What’s next for General Atomics?

General Atomics aims to make commercial fusion power plants a reality—delivering clean and economically viable fusion-powered electricity. And with multiple multinational collaborations, including ITER, the world’s largest fusion experiment, fusion energy may soon deliver sustainable power for homes and businesses all over the world.

It’s an ambitious, life-changing goal—but there’s no place more equipped than San Diego to meet it.

Join the clean energy future: Find your next job at General Atomics.

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