Interim Report—Status of the Study
“An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy”

Committee on the Prospects for Inertial Confinement Fusion Energy Systems
Board on Physics and Astronomy
Board on Energy and Environmental Systems
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
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Interim Report—Status of the Study “An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy” Committee on the Prospects for Inertial Confinement Fusion Energy Systems Board on Physics and Astronomy Board on Energy and Environmental Systems Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by Contract 10NA001274 between the National Academy of Sciences and the Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the agency that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-24547-1 International Standard Book: 0-309-25547-4 Copies of this report are available free of charge from: Board on Physics and Astronomy National Research Council The Keck Center of the National Academies 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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COMMITTEE ON THE PROSPECTS FOR INERTIAL CONFINEMENT FUSION ENERGY SYSTEMS RONALD C. DAVIDSON, Princeton University, Co-Chair GERALD L. KULCINSKI, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Co-Chair CHARLES BAKER, University of California, San Diego (retired) ROGER BANGERTER, E. O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (retired) RICCARDO BETTI, University of Rochester JAN BEYEA, Consulting in the Public Interest ROBERT L. BYER, Stanford University FRANKLIN CHANG-DIAZ, Ad Astra Rocket Company STEVEN C. COWLEY, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority RICHARD L. GARWIN, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center DAVID HAMMER, Cornell University JOSEPH S. HEZIR, EOP Group, Inc. KATHRYN McCARTHY, Idaho National Laboratory LAWRENCE T. PAPAY, PQR, LLC KEN SCHULTZ, General Atomics [Retired] ANDREW M. SESSLER, E. O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory JOHN SHEFFIELD, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville THOMAS A. TOMBRELLO, JR., California Institute of Technology DENNIS G. WHYTE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JONATHAN S. WURTELE, University of California, Berkeley ROSA YANG, Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. MALCOLM McGEOCH, Consultant, PLEX, LLC Staff DAVID LANG, Program Officer, Board on Physics and Astronomy, Study Director GREG EYRING, Program Officer, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences TERI THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator, Board on Physics and Astronomy JONATHAN YANGER, Senior Project Assistant, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems ERIN BOYD, Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Graduate Fellow (January-April, 2011) DONALD C. SHAPERO, Director, Board on Physics and Astronomy JAMES ZUCCHETTO, Director, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems iv

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BOARD ON PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY ADAM S. BURROWS, Princeton University, Chair PHILIP H. BUCKSBAUM, Stanford University, Vice Chair RICCARDO BETTI, University of Rochester JAMES DRAKE, University of Maryland JAMES EISENSTEIN, California Institute of Technology DEBRA M. ELMEGREEN, Vassar College PAUL FLEURY, Yale University STUART FREEDMAN, University of California, Berkeley LAURA H. GREENE, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign MARTHA P. HAYNES, Cornell University JOSEPH HEZIR, EOP Group, Inc. MARK B. KETCHEN, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center JOSEPH LYKKEN, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory HOMER A. NEAL, University of Michigan MONICA OLVERA de la CRUZ, Northwestern University PAUL SCHECHTER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology BORIS SHRAIMAN, Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics MICHAEL S. TURNER, University of Chicago DONALD C. SHAPERO, Director JAMES LANCASTER, Associate Director DAVID LANG, Program Officer CARYN JOY KNUTSEN, Associate Program Officer TERI THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator BETH DOLAN, Financial Associate v

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BOARD ON ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS ANDREW BROWN, JR., Delphi Corporation, Chair WILLIAM BANHOLZER, The Dow Chemical Company MARILYN BROWN, Georgia Institute of Technology WILLIAM CAVANAUGH, Progress Energy (retired), Raleigh, North Carolina PAUL A. DECOTIS, New York State Energy R&D Authority CHRISTINE EHLIG-ECONOMIDES, Texas A&M University SHERRI GOODMAN, CNA, Alexandria, Virginia NARAIN HINGORANI, Consultant, Los Altos Hills, California ROBERT J. HUGGETT, College of William and Mary DEBBIE A. NIEMEIER, University of California at Davis DANIEL NOCERA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER, Princeton University DAN REICHER, Climate Change & Energy Initiatives, Google.org BERNARD ROBERTSON, DaimlerChrysler Corporation (retired) GARY ROGERS, President, FEV, Inc., Auburn Hills, Michigan ALISON SILVERSTEIN, Consultant, Pflugerville, Texas MARK THIEMENS, University of California at San Diego RICHARD WHITE, Oppenheimer & Company, New York, New York JAMES J. ZUCCHETTO, Director vi

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Preface Recent scientific and technological progress in inertial confinement fusion (ICF), together with the campaign for achieving the important milestone of ignition on the National Ignition Facility (NIF), motivated the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of the Under Secretary for Science to request that the National Research Council (NRC) undertake a study to assess the prospects for inertial fusion energy (IFE) and provide advice on the preparation of a research and development (R&D) roadmap leading to an IFE demonstration plant. The statement of task for the full NRC study is given in Appendix B. In response to this request, the National Research Council established the Committee on the Prospects for Inertial Confinement Fusion Energy Systems. As part of the study, the sponsor also requested that the National Research Council provide an interim report to assist it in formulating its budget request for future budget cycles (see Appendix B). This interim report, which has a limited scope and does not fully address all of the bulleted items in Appendix B, is intended to provide the sponsor with a status report on the committee’s progress and a summary of the committee’s preliminary conclusions and recommendations based on the information it received during its first four meetings (see Appendix D) and from its review of relevant reports (see Appendix E). These four meetings were concerned mainly with information gathering through presentations, and the committee is only now carrying out the detailed analysis of the many important topics that will be included in its final report. Important topics that are not addressed in this interim report—but will be addressed to the extent possible in the final report—include an analysis of the cost-effectiveness of inertial fusion energy, a comparison of the various driver options, and an R&D roadmap at the conceptual level for a national program aimed at the design and construction of an inertial fusion energy demonstration plant, including approximate estimates, where possible, of the funding required at each stage. At the outset of the study, the committee decided that the fusion-fission hybrid was outside the scope of the study. Although the committee is carrying out its work in an unclassified environment, it was recognized that some of the research relevant to the prospects for inertial fusion energy systems has been conducted under the auspices of the nation’s nuclear weapons program, and has been classified. Therefore, the NRC established the separate Panel on the Assessment of Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Targets (see Appendix C) to explore the extent to which past and ongoing classified research affects the prospects for practical inertial fusion energy systems. The panel was also tasked with analyzing the nuclear proliferation risks associated with IFE (see Appendix B); although that vii

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analysis was not available for inclusion in this interim report, the committee will review and discuss it in its final report. The Target Physics Panel has exchanged unclassified information informally with the committee in the course of the study process, and the committee is aware of the panel’s evolving conclusions. The panel plans to produce both a classified and an unclassified report; the timing of the latter is such that it would be available to inform this committee’s final report and would be included as an appendix in that report. The statement of task of the Target Physics Panel is given in Appendix B and the panel’s meeting agendas appear in Appendix F. viii

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Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee of the National Research Council (NRC). The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Douglas M. Chapin, MPR Associates Stirling A. Colgate, Los Alamos National Laboratory Robert W. Conn, The Kavli Foundation Michael I. Corradini, University of Wisconsin James F. Drake, Jr., University of Maryland R. Paul Drake, University of Michigan Harold K. Forsen, Bechtel Corporation (retired) Arjun Makhijani, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research Robert H. Socolow, Princeton University Frank N. von Hippel, Princeton University Stanford E. Woosley, University of California at Santa Cruz Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Louis J. Lanzerotti, New Jersey Institute of Technology. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. ix  

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Contents 1 Executive Summary 1 2 Background 3 3 The Committee’s Information-Gathering Process 5 4 Recent Scientific and Technological Advances in Inertial Confinement Fusion 5 5 Important Factors from a Power Plant Perspective 7 6 Conclusions and Recommendations 9 7 The Path Forward to Complete the Final Report 10 Appendixes A The Basic Science of Inertial Confinement Fusion 15 B Statements of Task 19 C Panel Membership and Staff for the Panel on the Assessment of Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Targets 21 D Agendas from Committee Meetings and Site Visits 22 E Bibliography of Previous Inertial Confinement Fusion Studies Consulted by the Committee 34 F Agendas from Meetings of the Panel on the Assessment of Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Targets 36 G Glossary of Terms and Acronyms Used in This Report 45 x i 

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xii