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Inertial Confinement Fusion at the National Ignition Facility

Inertial Confinement Fusion at the National Ignition Facility

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Inertial Confinement Fusion is one of the two main approaches to fusion energy. The National Ignition Facility (NIF), a leading Inertial Confinement Fusion laboratory part of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, uses the world's most powerful lasers to compress a fuel pellet. With heat and pressure, the lasers force the atoms in the fuel pellet to fuse together, releasing enormous amounts of energy.


ASP's fact sheet, Inertial Confinement Fusion at the National Ignition Facility, details NIF's significant achievements over the past few years. Scientists at the NIF believe they could soon reach "ignition" - producing more energy than is required - in the next several months. America should continue to support the NIF and build on its success.
Inertial Confinement Fusion is one of the two main approaches to fusion energy. The National Ignition Facility (NIF), a leading Inertial Confinement Fusion laboratory part of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, uses the world's most powerful lasers to compress a fuel pellet. With heat and pressure, the lasers force the atoms in the fuel pellet to fuse together, releasing enormous amounts of energy.


ASP's fact sheet, Inertial Confinement Fusion at the National Ignition Facility, details NIF's significant achievements over the past few years. Scientists at the NIF believe they could soon reach "ignition" - producing more energy than is required - in the next several months. America should continue to support the NIF and build on its success.

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Published by: The American Security Project on Sep 11, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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www.AmericanSecurityProject.org1100 New York Avenue, NW Suite 710W Washington, DC
Inertial Con
nement Fusion
at the
National Ignition Facility 
September 2012
e United States faces signi
cant challenges in how to meet its long-term electricity generation demand. By 2050, our nation’s
eet of power plants will need to be replaced.Replacing the electricity 
eet presents a huge opportunity to shape our next-generationenergy mix; energy from fusion can play an important role in meeting demand for baseloadelectricity.Fusion is a method of generating power that forces two atoms together, releasing tremendousamounts of energy.“Inertial Con
nement Fusion” is the method of starting fusion by heating and imploding a fuel pellet; powerful lasers are the most widely used and e
 
ective method for this.
e lasers force the fuel pellet to actually implode and the atoms within it to “fuse” together.
is fusion reaction creates enormous amounts of energy. A single “shot” lasts less than a billionth of a second and the reaction ends.
ere is no dangerof a run-away reaction. We know that fusion works: it is happening every day in labs around the world.
e challenge with this type of fusion energy is the precise con
guration required to initiatethe reaction is still being worked on.
e goal is to generate more energy than is put into the reaction.
is goal is within reach:the remaining barriers are related to engineering and cost challenges.
e National Ignition Facility (NIF), housed in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, is the worlds leading facility for this type of fusion method - inertial con
nementfusion.
e NIF is a part of the National
Ignition
Campaign, a nationwide collaboration with someof the nations leading scienti
c institutions that is attempting to demonstrate “ignition”.
1
 
Ignition
is the point at which fusion releases more energy than it creates.
is will be animportant scienti
c milestone that demonstrates the potential for fusion to be a viable energy source.

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