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Fusion Researchers Gather In San Diego For Energy Conference

Nearly 1,000 fusion researchers from 45 countries are expected to discuss the latest advances in fusion energy at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront today as the 24th International Atomic Energy Agency Fusion Energy Conference gets under way.

The conference aims to "provide a forum for the discussion of key physics and technology issues as well as innovative concepts of direct relevance to fusion as a source of nuclear energy,'' according to the event's website.

The conference's six-day run is set to begin with the San Diego Unified School District's Soaring Eagles dance troupe performing in Native American regalia and issuing a blessing to celebrate the work of fusion researchers, according to event officials.

Those in attendance are set to include Nobel Prize-winning physicist Burton Richter, the chief executive officer of the United Kingdom's Atomic Energy Authority, and Taylor Wilson, a nuclear scientist and University of Nevada student who achieved fusion in a garage experiment in 2008, when he was 14, according to event organizers.

Frances Chen, a plasma physicist, UCLA professor emeritus and author of

"An Indispensable Truth: How Fusion Power Can Save the Planet,'' was scheduled as a keynote speaker along with William Brinkman, director of the Office of Science in the U.S. Department of Energy, which oversees the country's research programs in high energy physics, nuclear physics and fusion energy sciences.

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