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Title: Inertial Confinement Fusion R&D and Nuclear Proliferation

Abstract

In a few months, or a few years, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory may achieve fusion gain using 192 powerful lasers to generate x-rays that will compress and heat a small target containing isotopes of hydrogen. This event would mark a major milestone after decades of research on inertial confinement fusion (ICF). It might also mark the beginning of an accelerated global effort to harness fusion energy based on this science and technology. Unlike magnetic confinement fusion (ITER, 2011), in which hot fusion fuel is confined continuously by strong magnetic fields, inertial confinement fusion involves repetitive fusion explosions, taking advantage of some aspects of the science learned from the design and testing of hydrogen bombs. The NIF was built primarily because of the information it would provide on weapons physics, helping the United States to steward its stockpile of nuclear weapons without further underground testing. The U.S. National Academies' National Research Council is now hosting a study to assess the prospects for energy from inertial confinement fusion. While this study has a classified sub-panel on target physics, it has not been charged with examining the potential nuclear proliferation risks associated with ICF R&D. Wemore » argue here that this question urgently requires direct and transparent examination, so that means to mitigate risks can be assessed, and the potential residual risks can be balanced against the potential benefits, now being assessed by the NRC. This concern is not new (Holdren, 1978), but its urgency is now higher than ever before.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. (PPPL), Princeton, NJ (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1013251
Report Number(s):
PPPL-4618
TRN: US1102463
DOE Contract Number:  
DE-ACO2-09CH11466
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; BOMBS; DESIGN; EXPLOSIONS; HYDROGEN ISOTOPES; INERTIAL CONFINEMENT; LASERS; LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY; MAGNETIC CONFINEMENT; MAGNETIC FIELDS; NUCLEAR WEAPONS; PHYSICS; PROLIFERATION; STOCKPILES; TARGETS; TESTING; THERMONUCLEAR FUELS; THERMONUCLEAR REACTORS; US NATIONAL IGNITION FACILITY; WEAPONS; Compression, International Cooperation, Inertial Confinement Fusion, Laser Fusion, X-rays, X-rays, Sooft, Nuclear Proliferation

Citation Formats

Robert J. Goldston. Inertial Confinement Fusion R&D and Nuclear Proliferation. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.2172/1013251.
Robert J. Goldston. Inertial Confinement Fusion R&D and Nuclear Proliferation. United States. doi:10.2172/1013251.
Robert J. Goldston. Thu . "Inertial Confinement Fusion R&D and Nuclear Proliferation". United States. doi:10.2172/1013251. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1013251.
@article{osti_1013251,
title = {Inertial Confinement Fusion R&D and Nuclear Proliferation},
author = {Robert J. Goldston},
abstractNote = {In a few months, or a few years, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory may achieve fusion gain using 192 powerful lasers to generate x-rays that will compress and heat a small target containing isotopes of hydrogen. This event would mark a major milestone after decades of research on inertial confinement fusion (ICF). It might also mark the beginning of an accelerated global effort to harness fusion energy based on this science and technology. Unlike magnetic confinement fusion (ITER, 2011), in which hot fusion fuel is confined continuously by strong magnetic fields, inertial confinement fusion involves repetitive fusion explosions, taking advantage of some aspects of the science learned from the design and testing of hydrogen bombs. The NIF was built primarily because of the information it would provide on weapons physics, helping the United States to steward its stockpile of nuclear weapons without further underground testing. The U.S. National Academies' National Research Council is now hosting a study to assess the prospects for energy from inertial confinement fusion. While this study has a classified sub-panel on target physics, it has not been charged with examining the potential nuclear proliferation risks associated with ICF R&D. We argue here that this question urgently requires direct and transparent examination, so that means to mitigate risks can be assessed, and the potential residual risks can be balanced against the potential benefits, now being assessed by the NRC. This concern is not new (Holdren, 1978), but its urgency is now higher than ever before.},
doi = {10.2172/1013251},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2011},
month = {4}
}