technology around the world may eventually render these concerns moot. Remaining concerns are likely to focus on the use of classified codes for target design.

CONCLUSION 3-2: The nuclear weapons proliferation risks associated with fusion power plants are real but are likely to be controllable. These risks fall into three categories:

  • Knowledge transfer,
  • Special nuclear material (SNM) production, and
  • Tritium diversion.


While the focus of this panel was on ICF target physics, the need to evaluate driver-target interactions required considering driver characteristics as well. This broader analysis led the panel to the following overarching conclusions and a recommendation.

OVERARCHING CONCLUSION 1: The NIF has the potential to support the development and further validation of physics and engineering models relevant to several IFE concepts, from indirect-drive hohlraum designs to polar direct-drive ICF and shock ignition.

  • In the near to intermediate term, the NIF is the only platform that can provide information relevant to a wide range of IFE concepts at ignition scale. Insofar as target physics is concerned, it is a modest step from NIF scale to IFE scale.
  • Targets for all laser-driven IFE concepts (both direct-drive and indirect-drive) can be tested on the NIF. In particular, reliable target performance would need to be demonstrated before investments could confidently be made in the development of laser-driven IFE target designs.

The NIF will also be helpful in evaluating indirectly driven, heavy-ion targets. It will be less helpful in gathering information relevant to current Z-pinch, heavy-ion direct drive, and heavy-ion advanced target concepts.

OVERARCHING CONCLUSION 2: It would be advantageous to continue research on a range of IFE concepts, for two reasons:

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