News of the WeekLASER PHYSICS

DOE Slams Livermore for Hiding NIF Problems

Science  10 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5434, pp. 1647
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5434.1647a

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Department of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson last week ordered a major shake-up at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), a $1.2 billion device to simulate nuclear explosions and probe the practicality of fusion energy. Richardson said he was "gravely disappointed" to learn that officials at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which manages the project, had failed to inform him of impending cost overruns and delays. The criticism, accompanied by a financial penalty assessed on the University of California, which runs the lab, comes on the heels of the sudden resignation of NIF's chief after it was revealed that he had improperly claimed to hold a doctoral degree.