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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fresh analysis of NIF

Anonymous said:

Fresh analysis of NIF from Stephen Bodner and the press release from the Dept. of Energy are both linked to on www.trivalleycares.org Posted on the Tri-Valley CAREs' blog on Tuesday:

DOE Declares NIF Laser "Complete"; Leading Researcher Discloses Design Deficiencies

The National Ignition Facility (NIF), a mega-laser at Livermore Lab that is intended to train the next generation of nuclear bomb designers is back in the news. Not because of its bloated $5 billion price tag, or because of the government's decision to use plutonium as well as fusion targets in NIF.

Nope, NIF is in the news because its construction has been declared complete. It will be used by bomb designers.

But will NIF meet its more challenging scientific goal of ignition?

It will not, according to the March 28 analysis of Stephen Bodner, former head of laser fusion at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. Read: "NIF Laser Fails to Meet the Minimum Specifications Required for their Ignition Target Designs." Link

Then, read the government's press release of March 31, "Department of Energy Announces Completion of World's Largest Laser." Link

In the classic struggle between science and public relations, I believe the point goes to Bodner. Bodner bio: Bodner

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

If NNSA says it works, then it works.
End of story.

Anonymous said...

Let's just check out the guy who is knocking NIF... Yes his funding has been zeroed ! ... and if you check a little further back you'll find he's been consistently dishing out "sour grapes" about NIF ever since he realised he was being removed from the funding list. This is about something much more important than "who gets the dollars"... it's not about H-Bomb design either. The really important thing at Lawrence Livermore is the energy experiment series, and remember these experiments (2009-2011) are only the next step. Once we have proof of principle for laser fusion there is then the challenge of building the technology from the physics to make a grid-load power plant possible. We all know that's going to take some years to get done, but nobody in his right mind thinks it's a bad idea to do it. For a species as energy-hungry as we are, time is running out, and fusion really does look like the only answer. Let's stop knocking what's being done and do all we can to make it work ! The international HiPER Laser project is the next step, and that's already planning in Europe. The guy who criticised NIF will look pretty stupid in a few years' time when the game moves on and controlled fusion is achieved with net energy gain !

Anonymous said...

And what flavor is that Cool-Aid?

Anonymous said...

"The guy who criticised NIF will look pretty stupid in a few years' time when the game moves on and controlled fusion is achieved with net energy gain!"

He won't look stupid because by the time "controlled fusion" is achieved (if ever) he, you and I will be long gone.

Anonymous said...

Poster 12:29 AM, is that you, Ed Moses?

Anonymous said...

"For a species as energy-hungry as we are, time is running out, and fusion really does look like the only answer."

Actually, fission is the answer, and the liquid fluoride thorium reactor addresses the issues LIFE purports to deal with. And it was developed and proven over 40 years ago at ORNL. Unfortunately, it didn't advance the plutonium production desires of the weapons complex or the light water desires of Rickover. Time to revisit a proven technology.....

Anonymous said...

"Actually, fission is the answer ..."

Fifty years ago I was told we would run out of oil reserves in 20 years and nuclear energy was the answer. Fortunately for me I didn't believe that and bought a lot of oil company stock.

Anonymous said...

"The guy who criticised NIF will look pretty stupid in a few years' time when the game moves on and controlled fusion is achieved with net energy gain!"

As a graduate student in the 1960s, I was told that commercial fusion energy was only 20 years away. I still hear that. Maybe it's some new fundamental constant that we've discovered.

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