- Europe. The main European Union laser fusion research facilities are in France (the Laser Megajoule (LMJ), the Laboratoire pour l’Utilization des Lasers Intenses (Luli), and Petula); the Czech Republic (Prague Asterix Laser System (PALS)); and the United Kingdom (ORION, Vulcan). The high power laser energy research facility (HiPER) is a power plant study involving 12 countries, including Russia, and is led by the United Kingdom. Its goal is to develop a strategic route to laser fusion power production for Europe. Defining features of HiPER include the high repetition rate; the fact that it is system driven rather than physics driven; and the international, collaborative approach. The present design study envisages using DPSSLs, polar drive, shock ignition (possible test in LMJ at one-third of its maximum energy delivery), and a dry wall with some protection. The start of reactor design is planned for 2026 and operation for 2036. Much of the design of European approaches to IFE is being done using DUED,18 a code developed in Italy, and MULTI,19 a code developed in Spain.
- Germany. German laboratories are involved in HiPER. Heavy-ion fusion is studied at GSI-Darmstadt using RF-accelerators.
- Japan. The main program is focused on DPSSLs and fast ignition with the facility FIREX-1 in operation and FIREX-2 in design. The main goal is for demonstration to begin in 2029. There is collaboration with European programs. A more modest heavy-ion fusion program is undertaken in universities.
- Russia. Russia collaborates closely with Germany. The Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics’ terawatt accumulator (ITEP-TWAC) project will be the main test bed and is now under construction. Russia has recently announced a project to build a 2.8 MJ laser for ICF and weapons research. The Research Institute of Experimental Physics will develop the concept.
STATEMENT OF TASK
Recent scientific and technological progress in ICF, together with the campaign for achieving the important milestone of ignition on the NIF, motivated the DOE’s Office of the Under Secretary for Science to request that the National Research Council (NRC) undertake a study that assesses the prospects for IFE, and provides advice on the preparation of an R&D roadmap leading to an IFE demonstration