Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program

The National Ignition Facility

Committee for the Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1997



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
Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program: The National Ignition Facility Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program The National Ignition Facility Committee for the Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1997

OCR for page R1
Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program: The National Ignition Facility 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 this report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. 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. Bruce Alberts 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. William A. Wulf is interim 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. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate 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. Bruce Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and interim vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This work was performed under Department of Energy Contract DE-AC01-96DP00116 issued by the Department of Energy. However, the content does not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the Department of Energy or the government, and no official endorsement should be inferred. Copyright 1997 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Copies available from: Naval Studies Board National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Printed in the United States of America This report was not prepared in compliance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), 5 U.S.C. App. 2, as determined by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on March 5, 1997. The Committee that assisted the National Research Council in preparing this report has since been disbanded. The Department of Energy (DOE) was temporarily enjoined from using the report, but that injunction has been lifted, effective March 8, 2000, and thus all use of the report by DOE is now permitted.

OCR for page R1
Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program: The National Ignition Facility COMMITTEE FOR THE REVIEW OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY'S INERTIAL CONFINEMENT FUSION PROGRAM STEVEN E. KOONIN, California Institute of Technology, Chair W. DAVID ARNETT, University of Arizona ROBERT L. BYER, Stanford University ROBERT W. CONN, University of California at San Diego RONALD C. DAVIDSON, Princeton University ANTHONY J. DeMARIA, DeMaria ElectroOptics Systems, Inc. PAUL E. DIMOTAKIS, California Institute of Technology JACK J. DONGARRA, University of Tennessee ROGER W. FALCONE, University of California at Berkeley HERMANN A. GRUNDER, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility HENRY W. KENDALL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ARTHUR K. KERMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology STEVEN A. ORSZAG, Princeton University MARSHALL N. ROSENBLUTH, University of California at San Diego GEORGE H. TRILLING, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley J. PACE VanDEVENDER, Prosperity Institute Consultant SIDNEY G. REED, JR. Staff DOROTHY ZOLANDZ, Director, NIST Assessment Board RONALD D. TAYLOR, Director, Naval Studies Board NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director, Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications SUSAN G. CAMPBELL, Administrative Assistant, Naval Studies Board MARY G. GORDON, Information Officer, Naval Studies Board CHRISTOPHER A. HANNA, Project Assistant, Naval Studies Board

OCR for page R1
Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program: The National Ignition Facility COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS ROBERT J. HERMANN, United Technologies Corporation, Co-Chair W. CARL LINEBERGER, Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, Co-Chair PETER M. BANKS, Environmental Research Institute of Michigan LAWRENCE D. BROWN, University of Pennsylvania RONALD G. DOUGLAS, Texas A&M University JOHN E. ESTES, University of California at Santa Barbara L. LOUIS HEGEDUS, Elf Atochem North America, Inc. JOHN E. HOPCROFT, Cornell University RHONDA J. HUGHES, Bryn Mawr College SHIRLEY A. JACKSON, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission KENNETH H. KELLER, University of Minnesota KENNETH I. KELLERMANN, National Radio Astronomy Observatory MARGARET G. KIVELSON, University of California at Los Angeles DANIEL KLEPPNER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JOHN KREICK, Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Company MARSHA I. LESTER, University of Pennsylvania THOMAS A. PRINCE, California Institute of Technology NICHOLAS P. SAMIOS, Brookhaven National Laboratory L.E. SCRIVEN, University of Minnesota SHMUEL WINOGRAD, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center CHARLES A. ZRAKET, Mitre Corporation (retired) NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director

OCR for page R1
Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program: The National Ignition Facility Preface The Committee for the Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program was formed in response to a request from the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Assistant Secretary for Defense Programs, Victor H. Reis, that the National Research Council (NRC) review the DOE's Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) program. The recent declaration of Science Based Stockpile Stewardship (SBSS) as national policy within the broader Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program implies changes in the nuclear weapons program and resulted in a DOE decision that the ICF program, a component of SBSS, should undergo regular evaluation to ensure its continuing quality and its capacity to contribute both to SBSS and to other national needs. The committee (brief biographies are given in Appendix C) includes members with expertise in theoretical and experimental plasma physics, theoretical and applied hydrodynamics and fluid dynamics, high-energy physics, nuclear physics, laser physics, optics and optical engineering, laser-plasma interactions, and computing and computer science. In addition, the membership includes individuals experienced in designing, building, and managing large experimental facilities. One member has experience in nuclear weapons design, and another is a long-time leader of a nongovernmental organization concerned with national nuclear energy and weapons policy. All committee members are recognized as leaders in their respective fields of expertise. Several have served on previous committees that have examined ICF, and several have consulted for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in various areas. Slightly less than half of the members have had no prior exposure to ICF and the NIF. Only a few have had prior exposure to weapons physics and weapons design. As a result, the present report expresses, to a large extent, the views of a group of experts outside the nuclear weapons establishment. The charge to the committee was as follows: Conduct an initial review to: (1) determine the scientific and technological readiness of the NIF project, (2) assess the entire ICF program (including program scope, balance, and priorities; facility operation; experimentation; theory; etc.) and make recommendations to facilitate the achievement of the scientific goal, which is ignition, and (3) evaluate the capabilities of the ICF program (in conjunction with NIF) to support SBSS. This charge to the committee does not request reassessment of the desirability of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the necessity for SBSS, or the nonproliferation aspects of ICF. Nor does it ask for recommendations about whether or not to construct the proposed NIF, a decision that involves considerations beyond the scientific and technical issues considered here. To address its charge, the committee met five times to receive briefings, visit ICF facilities, and deliberate. Meetings were held at the Beckman Center in Irvine, California, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, and at NRC facilities in Washington, D.C. Detailed meeting agendas and lists of attendees are provided in Appendix A. The committee also convened on December 17–18, 1996, at the California Institute of Technology to complete its report. In addition to these meetings, several members met independently with ICF program managers and scientists to obtain more detailed information. Other members gathered information by telephone, private correspondence, and electronic mail or submitted written requests for specific information to ICF managers and scientists. The work of this committee follows that of prior review groups. The NRC previously has reviewed the ICF program twice, in 1986 under William Happer of Princeton University as chair and in

OCR for page R1
Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program: The National Ignition Facility 1990 under the current committee's chair, Steven Koonin of the California Institute of Technology. An internal DOE advisory committee, the Inertial Confinement Fusion Advisory Committee (ICFAC), met periodically from late 1992 to late 1995 to review selected aspects of the program as directed by the DOE's assistant secretary for defense programs. ICFAC held a total of seven meetings to examine technical issues such as time-dependent hohlraum asymmetries, the progress of the light ion program, the importance of the KrF laser program, contributions of the OMEGA program, and progress and issues in target physics, cryogenic targets, and target fabrication. This is the first report of the present committee. Given the time available to it and the unfamiliarity of some committee members with ICF and/or nuclear weapons, the committee has not been able to obtain a thorough overview of the entire ICF program. As a result, the committee decided, with the concurrence of DOE, to address in this report only part of its charge: item 1 (the scientific and technological readiness of the NIF) and those portions of item 3 (the relevance of ICF to SBSS) that are directly connected to the NIF project. Thus, the report does not consider such topics as the appropriate balance of efforts between the several thrusts of the ICF program. The committee hopes to provide substantial responses to the rest of its charge in subsequent reports, after a more extensive exposure to the ICF program.

OCR for page R1
Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program: The National Ignition Facility Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   BACKGROUND   7     THE COMPREHENSIVE TEST BAN   7     SCIENCE BASED STOCKPILE STEWARDSHIP   8     INERTIAL CONFINEMENT FUSION   9     DEFINITION OF IGNITION   10 2   RELEVANCE OF THE NATIONAL IGNITION FACILITY TO SCIENCE BASED STOCKPILE STEWARDSHIP   12     PEOPLE   12     CERTIFICATION OF WEAPONS STEWARDS   13     CODE VALIDATION AND MATERIALS PROPERTIES   13     IGNITION   14 3   SCIENTIFIC READINESS   15     BACKGROUND   15     RESULTS SINCE CRITICAL DECISION 2   15     MODELING CAPABILITIES   17     CONFIDENCE IN ACHIEVING THE SCIENTIFIC OBJECTIVES   19 4   TECHNOLOGICAL READINESS   21     NIF LASER TECHNOLOGY   21     TARGETS   28     DIAGNOSTICS   30     THE NATIONAL IGNITION FACILITY PROJECT   31 5   REMAINING HURDLES   35 6   FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS   36     THE NIF WOULD MAKE IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTIONS TOWARD THE STATED LONG-TERM GOALS OF THE SBSS PROGRAM   36     THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY HAVE PROGRESSED SUFFICIENTLY TO ALLOW THE NIF PROJECT TO PROCEED AS PLANNED   36

OCR for page R1
Review of the Department of Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program: The National Ignition Facility APPENDIX A   MEETING AGENDAS AND ATTENDANCE   38 APPENDIX B   DESCRIPTION OF ICF PROGRAM AND SELECTED OTHER MAJOR SBSS FACILITIES   48 APPENDIX C   BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION   51 APPENDIX D   ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS   55