and budgeting for target physics work, understanding that the needs for the inertial fusion energy program diverges from those for stockpile stewardship.

While existing NNSA facilities (NIF, Z, OMEGA) are critical to the IFE effort, this report notes that, in order to reach the CD-0 stage for a DEMO plant, other facilities will need to be built, and these, in turn, must also go through the various project phases and decisions (CD-0 through CD-4). The largest and most important precursor facility for IFE is an FTF. As evident from the preceding discussion, the design of the FTF should begin at a propitious time in order to start tritium operations of the FTF in a timely manner and to have data for input to the DEMO project decision process.

Conclusion 4-12: Existing facilities (NIF, Z, OMEGA, NDCX-II, HCX, NIKE, and Electra) will play critical roles in advancing the technical applications and their technological components from technical readiness levels (TRLs) of 4 or less to TRL 6 for the CD-0 demonstration plant (DEMO) decision process. In addition, to have a successful national IFE program, adequate funds are required to implement one or more integrated research experiments, at least one Fusion Test Facility, and the upfront costs for the DEMO design.

Table 4.4, based on the inputs to Chapters 2 and 3 and the above considerations, provides a rough outline of the near-term programmatic funding requirements if an IFE program were to proceed in a two-step ramping process with annual budgets of at least $50 million after ignition is attained and some $90 million-$150 million after ignition plus modest gain has been demonstrated. Table 4.5 contains an order-of-magnitude estimate of future minimum capital cost requirements for an IFE program.

It is difficult to provide an overall programmatic cost estimate since there are several significant uncertainties that have to be resolved, such as the length of time required to reach the decision on DEMO, the ability to successfully complete milestones in a timely fashion, the extent to which each TA will be pursued, the number of IREs that will be required, and whether more than one FTF will be built. In 2003, the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC) made a combined magnetic fusion energy and inertial fusion energy programmatic cost estimate.13 Based upon that report and the LIFE point design forecast,14 the committee’s order-of-magnitude estimates for facility capital costs, subject to the DOE G 413.3-4 process, are provided in Table 4.5.


13 FESAC, Fusion Development Panel, 2003, A Plan for the Development of Fusion Energy, March.

14 T. Anklam, M. Dunne, W.R. Meier, S. Powers, A.J. Simon, LIFE: The case for early commercialization of fusion energy, Fusion Science and Technology, 60: 66-71.

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