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Mickey Wade to join ORNL, lead Fusion Energy Division

Mickey Wade has been named the director of the Fusion Energy Division at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Mickey Wade has been named the director of the Fusion Energy Division at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, effective April 2020.

Wade recently served as deputy director of the Magnetic Fusion Energy Division for General Atomics and has extensive experience in fusion energy research, programmatic development and strategic planning.

In his new role, Wade will lead FED within ORNL’s Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate. The division is developing the understanding required for an attractive fusion energy source through domestic and international research collaborations, pursuing near-term applications to close the fusion fuel cycle and mitigate plasma disruptions, and developing solutions to materials and fusion nuclear science challenges presented by the harsh fusion environment. The organization also supports the Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment. As part of his role, Wade will work closely with the U.S. ITER Project Office, which is based at ORNL.

“We are very excited that Mickey is joining ORNL and NSED. His leadership in fusion energy will make him an excellent addition to the organization,” said Alan Icenhour, associate laboratory director for NSED. “As interest is growing across the United States and internationally, there are tremendous opportunities for ORNL to lead fusion energy technology development.”

In 15 years at General Atomics, Wade also served as the DIII-D national fusion program director and DIII-D experimental science division director. From 1994-2005, he was a senior scientist at ORNL. He was also a leader in developing support and advocacy for ITER and served as co-chair of the U.S. Magnetic Research Strategic Directions Community Workshops.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to return to East Tennessee and ORNL. It’s a special place that provided a strong foundation for my career—first as a graduate student, then as a post-doctoral fellow and eventually a staff scientist,” said Wade. “Throughout my career, I’ve been blessed to be a part of several major cutting-edge programs. I believe opportunities exist to develop new cutting-edge programs that tackle some of the most challenging aspects of fusion energy development and that ORNL can play a key role in that development.”

Over more than 30 years, Wade has written or co-written more than 300 publications and been involved in numerous fusion energy community activities. He was named a fellow of the American Physical Society in 2010 for his outstanding contributions to burning plasma physics, impurity transport and the development of advanced tokamak scenarios.

Wade received a bachelor’s degree in nuclear science and engineering from Virginia Tech and master’s and doctoral degrees in nuclear engineering from Georgia Tech.

UT-Battelle LLC manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit https://energy.gov/science.