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An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy (2013)

Chapter: Appendix B: Statements of Task

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Statements of Task." National Research Council. 2013. An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18289.
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B

Statements of Task

The statements of task for both the committee’s final report and its interim report are shown below. The scope of the final report was intended to be much broader than that of the interim report. The statement of task for the separate and supporting study by the Panel on the Assessment of Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Targets is also shown.

FOR THE COMMITTEE ON THE PROSPECTS FOR INERTIAL CONFINEMENT FUSION ENERGY SYSTEMS

The statement of task for the committee is as follows:

The Committee will prepare a report that will:

  • Assess the prospects for generating power using inertial confinement fusion;
  • Identify scientific and engineering challenges, cost targets, and R&D objectives associated with developing an IFE demonstration plant; and
  • Advise the U.S. Department of Energy on its development of an R&D roadmap aimed at creating a conceptual design for an inertial fusion energy demonstration plant.

The Committee will also prepare an interim report to inform future year planning by the federal government.

A Panel on Fusion Target Physics with access to classified information as well as controlled-restricted unclassified information will serve as a technical resource to the committee and will describe, in a report containing only publicly accessible information, the R&D challenges to providing suitable targets on the basis of parameters established and

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Statements of Task." National Research Council. 2013. An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18289.
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provided by the Committee. The Panel will also assess the current performance of various fusion target technologies.

FOR THE PANEL ON THE ASSESSMENT OF INERTIAL CONFINEMENT FUSION (ICF) TARGETS

The statement of task for the supporting panel is as follows:

A Panel on Fusion Target Physics (“the Panel”) will serve as a technical resource to the Committee on Inertial Confinement Energy Systems (“the Committee”) and will prepare a report that describes the R&D challenges to providing suitable targets, on the basis of parameters established and provided to the Panel by the Committee.

The Panel on Fusion Target Physics will prepare a report that will assess the current performance of fusion targets associated with various ICF concepts in order to understand:

  1. The spectrum output;
  2. The illumination geometry;
  3. The high-gain geometry; and
  4. The robustness of the target design.

The Panel will also address the potential impacts of the use and development of current concepts for Inertial Fusion Energy on the proliferation of nuclear weapons information and technology, as appropriate. The Panel will examine technology options, but will not provide recommendations specific to any currently operating or proposed ICF facility.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Statements of Task." National Research Council. 2013. An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18289.
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Page 177
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B: Statements of Task." National Research Council. 2013. An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18289.
×
Page 178
Next: Appendix C: Agendas for Committee Meetings and Site Visits »
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The potential for using fusion energy to produce commercial electric power was first explored in the 1950s. Harnessing fusion energy offers the prospect of a nearly carbon-free energy source with a virtually unlimited supply of fuel. Unlike nuclear fission plants, appropriately designed fusion power plants would not produce the large amounts of high-level nuclear waste that requires long-term disposal. Due to these prospects, many nations have initiated research and development (R&D) programs aimed at developing fusion as an energy source. Two R&D approaches are being explored: magnetic fusion energy (MFE) and inertial fusion energy (IFE).

An Assessment of the Prospects for Inertial Fusion Energy describes and assesses the current status of IFE research in the United States; compares the various technical approaches to IFE; and identifies the scientific and engineering challenges associated with developing inertial confinement fusion (ICF) in particular as an energy source. It also provides guidance on an R&D roadmap at the conceptual level for a national program focusing on the design and construction of an inertial fusion energy demonstration plant.

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