Naquadah generators are advanced reactor units that produce tremendous amounts of clean energy from small amounts of Naquadah (a common mineral but not found in Earth's solar system). Such a reactor contains enough reactants to generate an explosion of 20 kilotons following an overload, and it has been said that it would take 30 seconds for the generator to overload. Estimating peak power in this case is difficult, since it is unknown if the liberated energies would be solely provided by the build-up phase (in which case the peak power capacity of the reactor could be estimated), or if it would be due to the reaction of all remaining Naquadah, triggered by the initial explosion from the overload. As a result, Naquadah generators can be turned into a powerful bomb, which the Atlantis expedition has implemented as a self-destruct mechanism for the city of Atlantis as a safeguard from the Wraith. If such an explosion occurs, an Electromagnetic pulse is generated (similar to a nuclear explosion). (ATL: "Hide and Seek", "Hot Zone")
Later, in 2005 the Mark II series was developed, and it is capable of achieving 600% of the power output of the Mark I; it operates in a state of barely controlled overload and is quickly depleted. Never-the-less, two of these devices can power an Ancient Control chair for a limited number of uses, which normally requires a Zero Point Module to operate. (ATL: "The Siege, Part 2")
Uses of Naquadah generators include:
- Powering a Stargate without a Dial Home Device on another world for interstellar dialling-out, either manually or with a dialing program installed laptop. (SG1: "New Ground", "Bad Guys")
- Temporarily powering various alien devices, should their own power source be depleted. (SG1: "Ascension", "Forsaken")
- Powering the Prometheus and Daedalus-class series of warships.
- A miniature Naquadah generator was used to power the X-699 directed energy weapon, Earth's first directed energy weapon. (SG1: "Bounty")
- Powering the Control chairs in the Antarctic outpost and Atlantis whilst in a state of barely controlled overload. (ATL: "The Siege, Part 2", "No Man's Land")
- Powering the city of Atlantis in lieu of Zero Point Modules.
Earth was given Naquadah reactor technology by the Orbanians, and a workable prototype was developed at Stargate Command by Major Samantha Carter. It has since been used to power many technologies from Earth, and also by offworld SG teams to power various alien technologies. (SG1: "Learning Curve")
Naquadah generators are heavily relied upon by the Atlantis expedition to power the Ancient city of Atlantis in the distant Pegasus galaxy, especially in their first year in the city when they didn't have access to a Zero Point Module. When reinforcements were sent to Atlantis from Earth they brought with them the new Mark II reactors, which were used to power Atlantis' Control chair while defending the city from the Wraith; unfortunately, the reactors were quickly depleted. After a ZPM was installed on Atlantis, Naquadah generators served mainly as a back-up energy system. (ATL: "The Siege, Part 2", "Critical Mass")
- In an alternate timeline, Naquadah generators gradually became more advanced, and in the 2030s they got as far as the Mark XII series, which was so advanced that only one of them was needed to power the shield of Atlantis (which normally requires at least one Zero Point Module to function) for almost 800 years (with assistance from solar panels) after laying dormant for 48,000 years. (ATL: "The Last Man")