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

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                          OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
washington, D.C
www.napedu



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



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 R1
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

OCR for page R1
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS  500 Fifth Street, NW  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 the 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 views of the agencies that provided support for the project. Cover: Ultraviolet laser beams aim at a fuel pellet before they implode it in the OMEGA laser target chamber. © Roger Ressmeyer/CORBIS International Standard Book Number-13:  978-0-309-27081-6 International Standard Book Number-10:  0-309-27081-2 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, NW Washington, DC  20001 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2013 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

OCR for page R1
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 asso- ciate 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

OCR for page R1

OCR for page R1
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 at San Diego (retired) ROGER BANGERTER, E.O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (retired) RICCARDO BETTI, University of Rochester JAN BEYEA, Consulting in the Public Interest (CiPI) 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 A. 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, University of Tennessee at Knoxville THOMAS A. TOMBRELLO, JR., California Institute of Technology DENNIS G. WHYTE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JONATHAN S. WURTELE, University of California at 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, Senior 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 and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow (January-April 2011) SARAH NELSON-WILK, Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow (January-April 2012) v

OCR for page R1
JAMES LANCASTER, Director, Board on Physics and Astronomy JAMES ZUCCHETTO, Director, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems vi

OCR for page R1
BOARD ON PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY PHILIP H. BUCKSBAUM, Stanford University, Chair DEBRA M. ELMEGREEN, Vassar College, Vice Chair RICCARDO BETTI, University of Rochester ADAM S. BURROWS, Princeton University TODD DITMIRE, University of Texas NATHANIEL J. FISCH, Princeton University PAUL FLEURY, Yale University S. JAMES GATES, University of Maryland LAURA H. GREENE, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign MARTHA P. HAYNES, Cornell University MARK B. KETCHEN, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center 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 ELLEN D. WILLIAMS, BP International MICHAEL WITHERELL, University of California at Santa Barbara Staff JAMES LANCASTER, Director DONALD C. SHAPERO, Senior Scholar DAVID LANG, Program Officer CARYN JOY KNUTSEN, Associate Program Officer TERI THOROWGOOD, Administrative Coordinator BETH DOLAN, Financial Associate vii

OCR for page R1
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, Long Island Power Authority CHRISTINE EHLIG-ECONOMIDES, Texas A&M University, College Station SHERRI GOODMAN, CNA, Alexandria, Virginia NARAIN HINGORANI, Consultant, San Mateo, California ROBERT J. HUGGETT, College of William and Mary (retired), Seaford, Virginia DEBBIE A. NIEMEIER, University of California at Davis DANIEL NOCERA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MICHAEL OPPENHEIMER, Princeton University DAN REICHER, Stanford University BERNARD ROBERTSON, DaimlerChrysler Corporation (retired), Bloomfield Hills, Michigan GARY ROGERS, FEV, Inc., Auburn Hills, Michigan ALISON SILVERSTEIN, Consultant, Pflugerville, Texas MARK THIEMENS, University of California at San Diego RICHARD WHITE, Oppenheimer & Company, New York Staff JAMES J. ZUCCHETTO, Director DANA CAINES, Financial Associate DAVID COOKE, Associate Program Officer ALAN CRANE, Senior Scientist JOHN HOLMES, Senior Program Officer/Associate Director LaNITA JONES, Administrative Coordinator ALICE WILLIAMS, Senior Project Assistant JONATHAN YANGER, Senior Project Assistant viii

OCR for page R1
Preface Recent scientific and technological progress in inertial confinement fusion (ICF), together with the National Ignition Campaign (NIC) to achieve the impor- tant 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 reads as follows: The Committee will prepare a report that will: • Assess the prospects for generating power using inertial confinement fusion; • Identify scientific and engineering challenges, cost targets, and R&D objectives associ- ated with developing an IFE demonstration plant; and • Advise the U.S. Department of Energy on its development of an R&D roadmap aimed at creating a conceptual design for an inertial fusion energy demonstration plant. In response to this request, the NRC established the Committee on the ­Prospects for Inertial Confinement Fusion Energy Systems. As part of the study, the sponsor also requested that the NRC provide an interim report to assist it in formulating its budget request for future budget cycles (see Appendix B). The interim report had a limited scope and was released in March 2012.1 1  National Research Council, 2012. Interim Report—Status of the Study “An Assessment of the P ­ rospects for Inertial Fusion Energy,” The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C. Available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13371. ix

OCR for page R1
x Preface The committee’s final report represents the consensus of the committee after six meetings (see Appendix C for the meeting agendas). The first four meetings were concerned mainly with information gathering through presentations, while the final two meetings focused on carrying out a detailed analysis of the many important topics needed to complete the committee’s assessment. This report describes and assesses the current status of inertial fusion energy research in the United States, identifies the scientific and engineering challenges associated with developing inertial confinement fusion as an energy source, com- pares the various technical approaches, and, finally, provides guidance on 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 approxi- mate estimates, where possible, of the funding required at each stage. At the outset of the study, the committee decided that the fusion-fission hybrid concept was outside the scope of the study. While they are certainly interesting subjects of study, comparisons of inertial fusion energy to magnetic fusion energy or any other potential or available energy technologies (such as wind or nuclear fission) were also outside the committee’s purview. Although the committee carried out its work in an unclassified environment, it was recognized that some of the research relevant to the prospects for inertial fusion energy was 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 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; although that analysis was not available for inclusion in the interim report, the committee reviewed the panel’s principal conclusions and recommendations on proliferation, and these are included in this final report of the committee. The target physics panel exchanged unclassified information informally with the committee in the course of the study process, and the committee was aware of the panel’s conclusions and recommendations as they evolved. The panel produced both a classified and an unclassified report; the latter was timed so as to be available to inform this committee’s final report; the Summary of the panel’s unclassified report (prepublication version) is included as Appendix H. The statement of task for the panel is given in Appendix B and the panel’s meet- ing agendas appear in Appendix C. The panel’s unclassified report, Assessment of Inertial Confinement Fusion Targets, is being released simultaneously with this, the committee’s final report. Over the course of the study, the inertial confinement fusion community provided detailed information on the current status and potential prospects for all aspects of IFE. This information and the associated interactions with the

OCR for page R1
Preface xi community were essential to the committee’s work. We, as co-chairs of the com- mittee, recognize the enormous amount of time and effort involved in this con- tribution and thank the community for its extensive input and help with its task. Finally, we are particularly grateful to the members of this committee who worked so diligently over nearly 2 years to produce this report. Finally, we would like to express our deep appreciation to the staff at the NRC, particularly to David Lang and Greg Eyring, for their highly professional contribu- tions at every stage of the committee’s deliberations and preparation of the report. We are truly indebted to them for their insights and extraordinary contributions throughout the entire process. Ronald C. Davidson, Co-Chair Gerald L. Kulcinski, Co-Chair Committee on the Prospects for Inertial Confinement Fusion Energy Systems

OCR for page R1

OCR for page R1
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; Philip Clark, GPU Nuclear Corporation (retired); Michael I. Corradini, University of Wisconsin; Todd Ditmire, University of Texas at Austin; R. Paul Drake, University of Michigan; Douglas Eardley, University of California at Santa Barbara; Arjun Makhijani, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research; Gregory Moses, University of Wisconsin; Burton Richter, Stanford University; Robert H. Socolow, Princeton University; Frank N. von Hippel, Princeton University; and Steven Zinkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory. xiii

OCR for page R1
xiv Acknowledgment of Reviewers Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommenda- tions, 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 proce- dures 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.

OCR for page R1
Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 12 Overall Power Plant Efficiency, 17 Drivers, 18 Targets, 19 Chambers, 21 Major Conclusions of Previous Studies, 22 Major U.S. Research Programs, 23 Major Foreign Programs, 23 Statement of Task, 26 Scope and Committee Approach, 27 Structure of the Report, 28 2 STATUS AND CHALLENGES FOR INERTIAL FUSION ENERGY DRIVERS AND TARGETS 29 Methods for Driving the Implosion of Targets, 30 Driver Options for Inertial Confinement Fusion, 45 General Conclusions, 88 3 INERTIAL FUSION ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES 89 High-Level Conclusions and Recommendations, 90 Target Fabrication and Handling for Inertial Fusion Energy, 91 xv

OCR for page R1
xvi Contents Chamber Technology, 106 Materials, 118 Tritium Production, Recovery, and Management, 125 Environment, Health and Safety Considerations, 129 Balance-of-Plant Considerations, 137 Economic Considerations, 139 4 A ROADMAP FOR INERTIAL FUSION ENERGY 146 Introduction, 148 Technology Applications, 150 Event-Based Roadmaps, 152 Composite Roadmap and Decision Analysis for the Pre-ignition Stage, 156 TRLs for Inertial Fusion Energy, 161 Cost and Funding Considerations, 163 The Need for a National Inertial Fusion Energy R&D Program, 167 APPENDIXES A The Basic Science of Inertial Fusion Energy 173 B Statements of Task 177 C Agendas for Committee Meetings and Site Visits 179 D Agendas for Meetings of the Panel on the Assessment of Inertial 193 Confinement Fusion (ICF) Targets E Bibliography of Previous Inertial Confinement Fusion Studies 197 Consulted by the Committee F Foreign Inertial Fusion Energy Programs 199 G Glossary and Acronyms 204 H Summary from the Report of the Panel on the Assessment of 210 Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Targets (Unclassified Version) I Technical Discussion of the Recent Results from the National 219 Ignition Facility J Detailed Discussion of Technology Applications Event Profiles 222