Microstructure Optimization and Novel Processing Development of ODS Steels for Fusion Environments

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Richland, Washington
Project Term:
02/25/2021 - 02/24/2024

Critical Need:

For more than 60 years, fusion research and development (R&D) has focused on attaining the required fuel density, temperature, and energy confinement time of the plasma fuel of a viable fusion energy system. Currently, relatively modest investments have been made in the required and equally critical enabling technologies and advanced materials surrounding the plasma fuel. The GAMOW program supports innovative R&D that will help establish both the technical and commercial viability of (i) all the required technologies and subsystems between the fusion plasma and the balance of plant, (ii) cost-effective, high-efficiency, high-duty-cycle driver technologies, and (iii) novel fusion materials and advanced manufacturing of these materials.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) aims to cost-effectively fabricate, at scale, high-performance, oxide-dispersion-strengthened (ODS) steel with advanced-manufacturing methods for fusion breeding-blanket applications. PNNL will enable cost-effective production of oxide-dispersion strengthened steel by consolidating and extruding powders made with gas atomization reaction synthesis (GARS) in just one step by using first-of-a-kind shear-assisted processing and extrusion (ShAPE). Solid-state dynamic shear deformation during ShAPE will offer highly distributed nucleation of nano-oxides after heat treatment, which is essential to achieving scalable production, competitive costs, and the required tensile and creep strength. In parallel, additive manufacturing will be used to build complex fusion components from GARS powders. Finally, the quality of parts produced through these advanced-manufacturing methods will be demonstrated by testing critical high-temperature properties. Such scalable, cost-effective fabrication of ODS steels may enable efficient power conversion cycles (≥40%) at operating temperatures beyond 900 K in future fusion power plants.

Potential Impact:

Successful development of fusion energy science and technology could lead to a safe, carbon-free, abundant energy source for developed and emerging economies.


The GAMOW program will advance American leadership in fusion energy science and technology.


If successfully developed and commercialized, fusion energy can provide abundant, zero-carbon energy.


Advances in GAMOW’s technical areas will help accelerate progress toward commercial fusion energy and a new zero-carbon energy economy.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Ahmed Diallo
Project Contact:
Dr. Dalong Zhang
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Ames National Laboratory
Sandia National Laboratory
North Carolina State University

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