Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 33
PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1248 3 1249 Proliferation Risks Associated with Inertial Fusion Energy and with Specific 1250 Target Designs 1251 1252 1253 This chapter discusses the potential proliferation risks associated with inertial fusion 1254 energy (IFE). Many modern nuclear weapons rely on a fusion stage as well as a fission stage, 1255 and there has been discussion of the potential for nuclear proliferation—particularly vertical 1256 proliferation27—in a country where an IFE power plant is sited. 1257 We begin by providing some background on nuclear proliferation and inertial 1258 confinement fusion (ICF) and continue with discussions of several related topics: classification 1259 concerns, the relative proliferation risk associated with different target designs, weapons 1260 production in ICF facilities, knowledge transfer, other proliferation risks associated with ICF, 1261 and, finally, the importance of international engagement on this issue. 1262 1263 1264 CONTEXT AND HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE 1265 1266 The term “nuclear proliferation” refers to the spread of nuclear weapons knowledge, 1267 technology, and materials to countries or organizations that did not previously have this 1268 capability. Proliferation has been of increasing concern in recent years, particularly following the 1269 successful detonation of a North Korean nuclear weapon, and the signals that Iran may also be 1270 pursuing an illicit nuclear weapons program. With the breakup of the Soviet Union, special 1271 nuclear material (SNM) became available at lightly guarded facilities; it is unclear how much 1272 was lost to theft, but proliferation concerns remain. Another concern arises from the many 1273 nuclear weapons in Pakistan, and whether they are controlled adequately. 1274 Proliferation could occur in several ways: (1) the spread of knowledge about how to build 1275 nuclear weapons to other countries, (2) knowledge of—and access to—the physical technology 1276 used to construct nuclear weapons, (3) access to the materials from which a nuclear weapon 1277 could be constructed (e.g., SNM), and (4) access to people who have been engaged in nuclear 1278 weapons technology in other nations. 1279 Because the first nuclear weapons were built using technology that was later adapted for 1280 use in civilian nuclear power plants and the civilian nuclear fuel cycle, the role that fission power 1281 could play in proliferation has been considered for decades. An international safeguards regime 1282 to detect attempts at proliferation is currently in place and operated by the International Atomic 1283 Energy Agency (IAEA). This regime, which is based on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of 1284 Nuclear Weapons (NPT), involves cooperation in developing nuclear energy while ensuring that 1285 nuclear power plants and fuel cycle facilities are used only for peaceful purposes. 1286 The risk of nuclear proliferation could also be associated with inertial confinement fusion 1287 (ICF) research facilities or, possibly in the future, inertial fusion energy (IFE) plants. For 1288 example, IFE plants and ICF research facilities provide an intense source of neutrons, which 1289 could, in principle, be used to generate 239Pu from 238U. In addition, information that could help 27 Vertical proliferation refers to the enhancement of a country’s capability to move from simple weapons to more sophisticated weapons. 33
OCR for page 34
PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1290 countries develop more advanced boosted weapons or thermonuclear weapons could be gained 1291 from a thorough understanding of a fusion facility’s operation. 1292 While the effect of a fission-only weapon can be devastating, the development of two- 1293 stage (both fission and fusion) thermonuclear weapons can provide much higher yield per 1294 weapon. By using an ICF facility to improve its understanding of the physics of fusion, a nation 1295 might glean information useful in transitioning its weapons program into a much more complex, 1296 modern, and threatening system. In fact, the U.S. research program in laboratory-based inertial 1297 confinement fusion has been largely funded by the nuclear weapons program, because valuable 1298 information can be learned from ICF that can otherwise be learned only from nuclear testing.28 1299 Because IFE is still at an early stage as a potential energy source, international treaties 1300 related to nuclear weapons and proliferation do not clearly apply to IFE at this time. However, 1301 due to the value of IFE to the U.S. nuclear weapons program and the programs of other nations, 1302 the applicability of some treaties to ICF has been considered. 1303 The NPT does allow for laser fusion experiments, both in states that already have nuclear 1304 weapons and those that do not. As noted in 1998, this position is based on the unopposed, U.S. 1305 unilateral statement at the 1975 NPT Review Conference stating that “nuclear reactions initiated 1306 in millimeter-sized pellets of fissionable and or fusionable material by lasers or by energetic 1307 beams of particles, in which energy releases, while extremely rapid . . . are nondestructively 1308 contained within a suitable vessel . . . [do] not constitute a nuclear explosive device within the 1309 meaning of the NPT . . .” (U.S. DOE, 1995). Even so, the status of pulsed-power fusion 1310 experiments under the NPT remains unclear (Paine and Mckinzie, 1998). 1311 In the 1990s, there was discussion in the United States about whether the Comprehensive 1312 Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) also banned the use of ICF.29 Ultimately, the Clinton 1313 administration took the position that ICF is not a prohibited activity under the CTBT (Jones and 1314 von Hippel, 1998), and this position continues to be that of the Obama administration. However, 1315 some experts still debate the applicability of this treaty to ICF (Paine and McKinzie, 1998). 1316 ICF research has received a great deal of specifically directed funding in the United 1317 States in recent years, even though IFE per se has not. This research is funded primarily through 1318 the U.S. nuclear weapons program, which envisions using ICF experiments and modeling as a 1319 method of verifying codes and calculations related to the current U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. 1320 Because many of the topics involved in ICF are related in some way to nuclear weapons, much 1321 of the work is classified. The next section provides a brief introduction to the history and current 1322 status of the classification and declassification of various ICF concepts. 1323 1324 1325 CLASSIFICATION: ICF AND IFE 1326 1327 The primary reason stated by the U.S. government for classifying information related to 1328 ICF is to protect information relevant to the design of thermonuclear weapons. The possibility of 28 The moratorium on nuclear testing announced on October 2, 1992, by President George H.W. Bush and extended by the Clinton administration remains in effect. It was reinforced by the 1996 U.S. signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which, however, has not been ratified by the United States Senate. The information gained by the nuclear weapons program is related to improving our understanding of weapons components built during the cold war, including the effects of aging on component performance. 29 It should be noted that the U.S. is not currently a party to the CTBT but as a signatory is bound not to act in violation of the fundamental restrictions of the CTBT. 34
OCR for page 35
PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1329 using lasers to ignite fuel was first considered by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the 1330 national weapons laboratories in the early 1960s. At that time, concerns about the potential for 1331 laser fusion weapons as well as close ties between ICF concepts and nuclear weapons design 1332 (particularly physics and simulation codes) led the AEC to classify research on ICF. The first 1333 classification guidance for inertial confinement fusion information was issued in 1964. Initially, 1334 all aspects of ICF were considered to be classified. 1335 Declassification of fusion concepts began slowly in the 1970s, and by August 1974, 1336 essentially all work with directly irradiated fusion targets was declassified. After a long pause, 1337 declassification began again in the late 1980s and continued through the early 1990s. Most 1338 notably, in late 1990, an Inertial Confinement Fusion Classification Review was requested by the 1339 Secretary of Energy with the intent of eliminating unnecessary restrictions on information 1340 relevant to the energy applications of inertial confinement fusion. The panel included 1341 representatives from the DOE national laboratories, the Department of State, the Arms Control 1342 and Disarmament Office, and other stakeholders, and the report was issued on March 19, 1991. 1343 The key panel recommendations included these: (1) “For laboratory capsules absorbing <10 MJ 1344 of energy and with maximum dimension <1 cm, all information should be declassified with some 1345 exemptions,” and (2) “Some Centurion-Halite declassification would be desirable to gain the 1346 scientific credibility needed to advance the energy mission of ICF.” (U.S. DOE, 2001). Later, on 1347 December 7, 1993, nearly all information on laboratory ICF experiments was declassified.30 1348 At present, much of the information related to ICF targets has been declassified, with several 1349 notable exceptions. First, some aspects of computer codes and certain target designs remain 1350 classified, as well as the details of some historical experiments related to ICF (in particular, the 1351 Centurion-Halite program). Some aspects of classified targets are discussed in the classified 1352 Appendix F. 1353 Whether or not aspects of ICF are classified is highly relevant to the future of IFE. If 1354 essential parts of an IFE plant are classified, this could create significant complexities for 1355 commercialization. Although some commercial facilities rely on classified concepts (such as 1356 those involved in the enrichment or reprocessing of nuclear fuel), there are likely to be export 1357 controls or specific regulations involved in dealing with this situation. 1358 It is important to realize that classification or export controls could themselves indirectly 1359 cause proliferation risks if denial of information, technology, or materials causes some nations to 1360 mount covert programs or withdraw from the NPT. 1361 There are four possible scenarios for future classification of IFE concepts. The first 1362 possibility is simple—the target will be classified or other key aspects of the concept will be 1363 classified. The second possibility is that the target is unclassified, but the expertise needed to 1364 make or assess it will involve classified information or codes. A third possibility is that other 1365 parts of the plant (e.g., lasers) will be considered to be dual use and subject to export controls. 1366 Any of these three outcomes could be very troublesome at a commercial plant. On the other 1367 hand, a fourth possibility is that the target and expertise will be unclassified, and none of the key 1368 elements of the plant are subject to export controls. If this is feasible, it would be the simplest 1369 configuration and a highly desirable goal for the future commercialization of IFE. 1370 1371 30 Roy Johnson, LLNL, “The History of ICF Classification,” a document provided to the panel on February 24, 2011. 35
OCR for page 36
PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1372 PROLIFERATION CONCERNS ASSOCIATED WITH DIFFERENT IFE TARGET 1373 CONCEPTS 1374 1375 Any kind of ICF seeks to achieve thermonuclear ignition and burn. As noted previously, 1376 this goal relates ICF to thermonuclear weapons, and for this reason ICF (whether in a research 1377 facility or a power plant) is seen to pose some proliferation risk. However, this risk is mitigated 1378 by the fact that (1) nuclear weapons are much larger than ICF targets, and (2) their operation 1379 presents some different engineering challenges. 1380 Indirect-drive targets are associated with some proliferation concerns because the physics 1381 involved is more closely related to the physics associated with thermonuclear weapons than is 1382 the case with direct drive. In particular, the functioning of indirect-drive targets involves the use 1383 of X-rays in the hohlraum to drive the capsule implosion. ICF using indirect drive was 1384 declassified in 1991. 1385 In any case, the processes involved in heavy-ion deposition (for heavy-ion-driven fusion) 1386 and the beam-plasma interactions that occur in direct-drive capsules are physically much more 1387 remote from conditions in existing thermonuclear weapons. In addition, these processes do not 1388 relate to any feasible design for a weapon that the panel is aware of. For these reasons, it is the 1389 judgment of the panel that heavy-ion fusion and direct-drive fusion pose (arguably) fewer 1390 proliferation concerns. 1391 The Z-pinch fusion concept is likewise remote from existing weapons. However, during 1392 the cold war, the Soviet program in explosively driven magnetic implosion (MAGO) progressed 1393 further than any other approach to pure fusion, though like all such approaches, it was still very 1394 far from ignition (Garanin et al., 2006, Velikhov, 2008). Since the 1990s, LANL and the All 1395 Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (VNIIEF) have carried out joint experiments 1396 on MAGO (Lindemuth et al., 1995). 1397 In the future, as processing power for desktop and academic computers continues to 1398 increase, and as knowledge of plasma physics continues to accumulate in the open literature, 1399 many of these concerns may become less relevant, including the proliferation risk distinction 1400 between indirect drive and other forms of ICF that might be used for IFE. Enough physics 1401 knowledge may accumulate in the public arena that the use of indirect-drive IFE would not be 1402 able to add much to publicly available knowledge. In such a world, codes would be classified 1403 according to their direct use for (and calibration from) nuclear weapons, not according to the 1404 physics that they model. However, if an IFE plant were to rely on classified codes for target 1405 design or other operational aspects, and knowledge of these technologies could be used to gain 1406 information about the codes’ details, proliferation would be a concern. 1407 1408 CONCLUSION 3-1: At present, there are more proliferation concerns associated with 1409 indirect-drive targets than with direct-drive targets. However, the spread of technology 1410 around the world may eventually render these concerns moot. Remaining concerns are likely to 1411 focus on the use of classified codes for target design. 1412 1413 1414 WEAPONS MATERIAL PRODUCTION AT IFE PLANTS 1415 1416 One of the key proliferation risks associated with any fusion plant (ICF or magnetic 1417 confinement fusion) is that it is possible to use the plant to create materials that are essential for 36
OCR for page 37
PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1418 the construction of nuclear weapons. These materials fall into two primary categories: special 1419 nuclear materials and tritium. Both types of material can be produced without the use of fusion 1420 facilities, but commercial fusion plants may be a more convenient source for these materials for 1421 those who cannot acquire them easily in another way. The potential for the production of each 1422 type of material is discussed next. 1423 1424 1425 Special Nuclear Materials 1426 1427 As noted previously, it is technically possible to utilize the significant neutron flux 1428 emanating from a fusion reactor core to produce 239Pu from 238U. To accomplish this task 1429 covertly, it would be necessary to: 1430 1431 • Move quantities of uranium into the immediate vicinity of the fusion core and 1432 • Acquire technology for—and construct—the appropriate reprocessing facilities to 1433 separate the plutonium from the uranium and fission products. 1434 1435 The first task is likely to be operationally cumbersome. In addition, the transfer of large 1436 quantities of uranium into and out of a fusion power plant would likely be detectable, as such 1437 conveyance would not be a normal operation for such a plant. The development and construction 1438 of a reprocessing facility—assuming that it had not already been built and brought into 1439 operation—would also be necessary. The technology is not new, but it requires significant 1440 radiation-handling capability. The construction and operation of such a facility would probably 1441 be detectable by the current safeguards regime. 1442 Overall, the panel judges that the construction and diversion of an IFE plant in this 1443 fashion is not the simplest path for a host state to produce SNM. Research reactors and 1444 commercial nuclear plants capable of serving the same purpose (irradiation of uranium for 1445 plutonium production) exist in many nations. However, a previously built and operating fusion 1446 plant could serve as a path of opportunity for a nation interested in developing weapons. Such 1447 facilities may therefore have to be subject to inspection to assure that they would not be so used, 1448 and to IAEA safeguards in states that do not already have nuclear weapons. 1449 However, if terrorists were to seize an IFE plant, it could provide them with neutrons for 1450 the production of material to make a weapon of mass destruction. In this case, any facility 1451 capable of producing neutrons could be useful, but it is possible that no better solution would be 1452 available. Nonetheless, as noted above, an effective form of reprocessing would still be needed 1453 to isolate the plutonium. 1454 For these reasons, the panel believes that a fusion plant raises fewer proliferation 1455 concerns than a fission plant with respect to the production of nuclear materials. However, in a 1456 region free of nuclear facilities, siting of a fusion plant could increase the proliferation risk in 1457 that region if the fusion plant were totally exempt from inspection by the IAEA or other 1458 international body. A hybrid fusion-fission plant would have the proliferation disadvantages and 1459 the economic problems of both technologies. 1460 1461 1462 1463 37
OCR for page 38
PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1464 Tritium 1465 1466 In order to fuel itself, a functioning IFE plant would likely be designed to continually 1467 breed a stream of tritium in vast amounts: about 60 kg per year for a plant of 1 GW (thermal) 1468 capacity. Tritium is not only an essential fuel for a fusion power plant, but it can also be used in 1469 part to fuel modern, boosted fission weapons or thermonuclear weapons. 1470 The diversion of some portion of the substantial tritium stream would be relatively 1471 straightforward, but such diversion does not necessarily pose a significant proliferation threat per 1472 se. However, for a state already possessing nuclear weapons the diversion of only a few grams of 1473 tritium would be significant and would be difficult to detect. In addition, tritium can be produced 1474 in other ways if a state needs it. To date, tritium for nuclear weapons and other purposes has been 1475 produced using fission reactors. 1476 With current technologies tritium alone, unlike SNM, cannot be used to build a nuclear 1477 weapon, and only a host state with relatively advanced capabilities would find such a stream of 1478 tritium to be useful. Indeed, for primitive nuclear weapons, tritium does not need to be used at 1479 all. However, if a significant diversion of tritium is observed, it could be a signal to the 1480 international community that the host state is considering increasing its nuclear capability to 1481 include more advanced weapons using boosting or thermonuclear burn. 1482 1483 1484 KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER AT ICF FACILITIES 1485 1486 A second path for a potential proliferator might be the covert acquisition of key 1487 information about fusion, drawing on knowledge gained from operating a fusion facility. This 1488 path is discussed separately for research facilities and energy facilities in the following sections. 1489 1490 1491 Inertial Confinement Fusion Research Facilities 1492 1493 Research facilities—such as the National Ignition Facility (NIF)—pose different 1494 proliferation concerns than a fully functioning inertial fusion power plant, and the concerns 1495 associated with a host country misusing a research facility are likely to be greater than those 1496 associated with a fusion power plant. A fusion research facility is designed for the purpose of 1497 increasing physics understanding on a range of topics, not for a specific function (i.e., energy 1498 production). A power plant, however, is likely to be highly specialized and not designed with the 1499 flexibility inherent in a research machine. In addition, research facility diagnostics by their 1500 nature will provide hints about the underlying physics that power plant diagnostics may not. 1501 If considered fully, the proliferation risk associated with a research facility can go beyond the 1502 physical presence of the facility in one nation or another. Research facilities may cater to a range 1503 of scientific interests beyond the needs of either the power generation community or the weapons 1504 community. For example, the NIF provides the plasma physics community with a highly 1505 effective experimental test and validation for a number of codes and theories that may indirectly 1506 or directly relate to the physics required for an understanding of thermonuclear weapons. 1507 Because the research community is intrinsically both open and international, such an improved 1508 understanding of plasma physics could provide a range of potentially useful information to a 1509 proliferator. 38
OCR for page 39
PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1510 This increase in understanding is unlikely to stop, regardless of U.S. decisions. In the 1511 coming decades, both experiments and simulation in research facilities worldwide are likely to 1512 surpass current U.S. capabilities. For example, continuing increases in computing speed and 1513 understanding in the open research community could result in extremely capable physics codes. 1514 However, it should be clear that information about physics is not the same as information about 1515 weapons design. For a nation that has never successfully (or unsuccessfully) detonated a 1516 thermonuclear weapon, no fusion research facility or power plant can adequately replace 1517 experimental physics and engineering knowledge gained from nuclear testing. 1518 1519 1520 IFE Power Plants 1521 1522 An IFE power plant, as noted above, is unlikely to be highly flexible, and a research 1523 facility is likely to provide more information to a potential proliferator. By the time a design is 1524 commercialized, the physics will likely have been well understood (or engineered around), and 1525 the designs of the individual components will have been optimized to the extent possible for 1526 power production. In addition, the diagnostics will be likely to be optimized for the needs of a 1527 power plant operator, not for the needs of a physicist attempting to learn useful weapons 1528 information. 1529 However, knowledge transfer remains a concern if an IFE power plant is deployed 1530 overseas in a country where proliferation is a concern, because local expertise will be needed to 1531 operate the plant. The plant may not yield useful information about the physics involved in the 1532 reaction, but could provide information about energies needed and other technological details 1533 that must be known to obtain ignition in a fuel pellet. Moreover, personnel would gain practical 1534 experience in handling tritium. Whether this knowledge would be greater than that obtainable in 1535 the open literature is unclear. 1536 1537 CONCLUSION 3-2: The nuclear weapons proliferation risks associated with fusion power 1538 plants are real but are likely to be controllable. These risks fall into three categories: 1539 • Knowledge transfer, 1540 • SNM production, and 1541 • Tritium diversion. 1542 1543 CONCLUSION 3-3: Research facilities are likely to be a greater proliferation concern than 1544 power plants. A working power plant is less flexible than a research facility, and it is likely to 1545 be more difficult to explore a range of physics problems with a power plant. However, domestic 1546 research facilities, which may have a mix of defense and scientific missions, are more 1547 complicated to put under international safeguards than commercial power plants. Furthermore, 1548 the issue of proliferation from research facilities will have to be dealt with long before 1549 proliferation from potential power plants becomes a concern. 1550 1551 1552 ICF FOR OTHER PURPOSES 1553 1554 One proliferation concern associated with ICF is the potential for the development of a 1555 laser fusion weapon, as discussed briefly in the section on classification earlier in this chapter. 39
OCR for page 40
PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1556 However, owing to the size, complexity, and energy requirements of existing or planned driver 1557 systems, the panel does not consider this to be a credible and immediate concern with respect to 1558 current concepts for inertial fusion energy, such as laser-driven fusion energy. However, in the 1559 distant future, advances in laser technology could change this picture. 1560 In a 1998 declassification decision, the Department of Energy (DOE) stated that “the U.S. 1561 does not have and is not developing a pure fusion weapon and no credible design for a pure 1562 fusion weapon resulted from the DOE investment.” (U.S. DOE, 1991). According to information 1563 released after the cold war, the Soviet experience was similar. However, this concern might 1564 someday materialize with currently unforeseen technology developments. For this reason and to 1565 alleviate any current concerns, it will be important to address the possibility (or impossibility) of 1566 pure fusion weapons in policy discussions and in the safeguards regime. 1567 1568 1569 THE IMPORTANCE OF INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT 1570 1571 As described in the previous sections, there are proliferation risks associated with the use 1572 of ICF facilities around the world, and—should IFE concepts prove to be fruitful—with IFE 1573 plants themselves. 1574 Managing proliferation, whether it is associated with fission concepts or fusion concepts, 1575 is intrinsically an international problem. While one country may not allow the export of certain 1576 technologies, other countries that do not consider the technology as sensitive may choose to 1577 allow it. In addition, the result of proliferation—the successful construction of a nuclear weapon 1578 by one more state—is international in its consequences. 1579 For this reason, preventing proliferation associated with fusion energy requires 1580 international agreement on methods for managing the risks of the technologies involved, 1581 including safeguards. The IAEA defines the purpose of its safeguards system as follows: 1582 1583 …to provide credible assurance to the international community that nuclear material and other 1584 specified items are not diverted from peaceful nuclear uses. Towards this end, the safeguards 1585 system consists of several, interrelated elements: (i) the Agency’s statutory authority to establish 1586 and administer safeguards; (ii) the rights and obligations assumed in safeguards agreements and 1587 additional protocols; and (iii) the technical measures implemented pursuant to those agreements. 1588 These, taken together, enable the Agency to independently verify the declarations made by States 1589 about their nuclear material and activities. 1590 1591 This safeguards system has been in place for decades to verify compliance with the 1592 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) for fission plants and fuel cycle facilities around the 1593 world. If new facilities that also pose a proliferation risk—such as fusion facilities—were to be 1594 deployed around the world, it would be sensible to either include them in the current regime or to 1595 design a similar safeguards regime for these facilities. 1596 Of course, these safeguards would need to take into account the design of a particular 1597 fusion power plant. Although numerous design concepts have been advanced,31 the panel did not 1598 see any credible, complete power plant designs. This has benefits, as it provides an opportunity 1599 to consider “safeguardability” directly in the initial design of a fusion power plant. 31 See, for example, OSIRIS and SOMBRERO Inertial Fusion Power Plant Designs – DOE/ER-54100-1, March 1992, and “Inertial Fusion Energy Reactor Design Studies Prometheus-L and Prometheus-H,” DOE/ER-54101, March 1992. 40
OCR for page 41
PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1600 Early international discussions on this topic could be very helpful in reaching an 1601 international consensus on the key proliferation concerns associated with the use of inertial 1602 fusion power plants as well as how to manage these concerns (Goldston and Glaser, 2011). 1603 1604 CONCLUSION 3-4: It will be important to consider international engagement regarding 1605 the potential for proliferation associated with IFE power plants. 1606 1607 1608 ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF FUSION PLANTS WITH RESPECT TO 1609 PROLIFERATION 1610 1611 Proliferation is most tied to access to SNM, e.g., using enrichment processes. Richard 1612 Meserve32 recently wrote that “There is no proliferation risk from the [fission] reactors. 1613 Proliferation risks can arise from enrichment facilities because the technology could be used for 1614 weapons purposes.” (Meserve, 2011) An advantage of fusion plants with respect to 1615 nonproliferation is that SNM will not be used in the plants and SNM will not be accessible from 1616 the waste products, as it is from fission plants. This lack of direct access to SNM is the major 1617 nonproliferation advantage of a fusion plant. 1618 The disadvantage is inertial fusion power plants is that they allow access to knowledge 1619 and experience with fusion, which will necessarily increase with the design and operation of 1620 such plants. The latest nuclear weapons use fusion as a major source of the explosion energy. 1621 These concerns were outlined in a presentation by an official (Massard, 2010): 1622 1623 As an EU [European Union] requirement, we keep a clear separation between IFE and 1624 ‘sensitive’ weapons science (nonproliferation) 1625 • No use of weapons codes in the European programs 1626 • No benchmarking of physics code with weapons code 1627 • Not in favor of indirect drive capsule option in the European program for sensitivity 1628 issues 1629 1630 European countries have strong collaborations in ICF (for example, HiPER). The French 1631 are building a laser fusion facility, LMJ, which is broadly similar to NIF and which will be the 1632 most capable driver available in Europe. As a matter of policy, these programs will pursue 1633 direct-drive ICF but do not intend to pursue indirect drive for IFE (Massard, 2010), because of 1634 the perceived proliferation risk. The United Kingdom participates in LMJ and HiPER and also 1635 actively participates at NIF in the United States, and in the latter context is pursuing indirect- 1636 drive ICF.33 1637 The Russian program in pure fusion evolved historically from the pre-1991 Soviet 1638 nuclear weapons program (Velikhov, 2008). Its major emphasis is on magnetic confinement 1639 fusion, which is not within the scope of this report. In ICF, two methods have received 1640 continuing attention in Russia: laser fusion and magnetized target fusion (MTF). Although 1641 research supporting ICF development is ongoing with smaller lasers (Kirillov et al., 2000; 32 Former Chair of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and chair of the IAEA safety advisory group. 33 John Collier, UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, “Recent Activities and Plans in the EU and UK on Inertial Fusion Energy”, briefing to the NRC IFE Committee, June 15, 2011. 41
OCR for page 42
PREPUBLICATION COPY—SUBJECT TO FURTHER EDITORIAL CORRECTION 1642 Belkov et al., 2010), Russia currently has no laser facility comparable to NIF or LMJ,34 and is 1643 unlikely to achieve laser-driven ignition in the near future. As for magnetized target fusion, the 1644 Russian MAGO concept has been widely advertised, and, as mentioned, joint work with LANL 1645 is ongoing. The proliferation risks of the MAGO MTF concept have been discussed in detail 1646 (Jones and von Hippel, 1998). Little concern about the potential for proliferation in MAGO is 1647 evident in Russian publications and policy. Indeed, in general, different countries have different 1648 classification policies. 1649 34 A news report in Aug., 2011 suggests that plans for a NIF-class laser at VNIEFF are once again going forward, with commissioning expected in 2017; however the stated purpose is stockpile stewardship, not ICF (http://english.ruvr.ru/2011/09/30/57370758.html). 42