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Laser Fusion Energy Poised to Ignite

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Science  14 May 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5980, pp. 808-809
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5980.808

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Summary

For all of its importance as a demonstration project, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) would make a terrible power station—it would only produce enough power for one typical American home. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's proposal for a post-NIF fusion energy project, called LIFE (Laser Inertial Fusion Engine), would produce up to 500 megawatts of power. Others, however, say leaping straight from NIF to a power plant is the wrong way to go. Another approach, known as fast ignition fusion, is under investigation in several projects, including Osaka University's Fast Ignition Realization Experiment and Europe's High Power laser Energy Research facility. But does the world need three projects doing roughly the same thing?