The committee held seven meetings and four site visits at which presentations were invited from key researchers (both national and international) in the field, skeptics who question the current approaches, and independent experts in areas relevant to the commercialization of new technologies. At each meeting, there was also opportunity for public comment. Meeting agendas are given in Appendix C. During the course of the study, the committee consulted with most of the key individuals and laboratories at the forefront of IFE-related research.
Chapter 2 describes the status of the main approaches to driving the implosion of IFE targets as well as specific challenges that must be met in the near term, medium term, and far term to make the various drivers suitable for use in commercial IFE plants. The status and R&D challenges of the targets themselves, as well as those of the other components of an IFE plant, are discussed in Chapter 3, which also includes a discussion of economic considerations associated with the commercialization of IFE. Finally, Chapter 4 describes the committee’s proposed R&D roadmaps for various driver-target combinations in the form of branching decision trees leading to an IFE demonstration plant, as required in its statement of task. For each technological approach, the committee identifies a series of critical R&D objectives that must be met for that approach to be viable. If these objectives cannot be met, then other approaches will need to be considered.