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INERTIAL CONFINEMENT FUSION 61 FIGURE 3.1 Schematic diagram of the basic fusion process in which deuterium and tritium nuclei combine to form 3He and a neutron. For electric power applications, the energy from this reaction is transformed into heat and then converted into electrical energy. RECENT ADVANCES Laser Fusion In the past decade, significant progress has been made in the understanding of high-energy-density plasmas created by intense lasers and particle beams. An ICF hohlraum irradiated by the Nova laser is shown in Plate 3. With several notable exceptions, this work has been carried out under the auspices of inertial confinement fusion research with large lasers (i.e., having energies greater than 1 kJ). Direction, progress, and accomplishments within the ICF program have been subject to frequent national review.1 Experiments and computer simulations during the past decade have led to a 1 For example: National Research Council, Second Review of the Departmentof Energy's Inertial Confinement Fusion Program, Final Report, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1990.