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Sunday, March 20, 2016

NIF

Will the NIF ever achieve break even or is that no longer a realistic goal?

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was never a realistic goal.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps once beam pointing and energetics during a shot are better characterized, they can be combined with tailored beam designs, more precise target fab technology and updated target physics for another fusion energy campaign to better characterise the challenges in the science of that mission. But it is not a priority at the moment, nor on the horizon for the next few years. The current user community is clamoring for more shots. Hundreds of fully instrumented experiments are taken per year which has whetted the appetite and stimulated the imagination for more. The user community wants 1000s per year. It is an amazingly successful utility. The French, Russians, Chinese and India have undertaken efforts to copy NIF. Kudos to all now and previously involved.

Anonymous said...

The US is awash in cheap crude. Fusion power research is less important now than keeping minds focused on the international challenges of scientific stewardship.

Anonymous said...

I was never a real goal. The worst thing that could happen to ICF, and to the whole stockpile stewardship enterprise, would be for the NIF to achieve ignition. Moses never understood that, he thought it was a genuine honest goal, and he organized the NIC around it. He even believed it would happen. Fortunately he failed, so in that sense he succeeded, but only by not accomplishing what he wanted to accomplish.

Anonymous said...

It has always been doublespeak. As long as the money flows, "bad" is "good". I actually believe NIF was NEVER about ignition. At least that statement is honest. Oddly, I know people who have worked on it for decades who (still) believe it is ONLY about ignition. Believe what you want, it has always been a colossal waste of time, money, and talent.

Anonymous said...

Hold on. It was never a goal? It was always a goal so much so that NIF begat LIFE (another exercise in smoke and mirrors). And don't forget the building size banner "Bringing Star Power To Earth" hanging outside the NIF facility. Ignition was the story that was fed to congress and they bought it hook, line and sinker. Forget about the real reason behind NIF ( stockpile stewardship.) Unfortunately, this failure will follow LLNL for a long, long time.

Anonymous said...

" Unfortunately, this failure will follow LLNL for a long, long time."

Total BS !

NIF (and the LIFE conceptual design project) are now and where never failures. The NIF user groups and shot requests are lined up from the NIF building to the Livermore Lab entrance.

Anonymous said...

Oh God, not another NIF thread, please!!!! Haven't we been subjected to enough garbage on NIF?? The endless arguments on threshold and ignition, the endless accusations on EOS, the endless arguments about energy vs stockpile stewardship, the endless posts about Moses, for God's sake. Can you obsessed people never get over it? Please, please STOP!!! Whoever started this thread with his seemingly innocent question SHOULD BURN IN HELL!!! AAUUGGGHH!!!! ENOUGH ABOUT NIF!!

Anonymous said...

NIF (and the LIFE conceptual design project) are now and where never failures. The NIF user groups and shot requests are lined up from the NIF building to the Livermore Lab entrance.

March 20, 2016 at 8:28 PM

NIF was/is a failure, the idea that lots of users want access does not does not fully negate its failure. For the time and money spent on it, it could have been used to make much better facilities for the same people that want to run shots on it now. Even you should know this. Is NIF a total failure, no, and now that it has been built it can be used for some things to help mitigate the failure but to say it is a great success and kudos to all is just out and out delusional and no not even the people that use would say that. I am not exactly sure but you could just be a troll.

>Whoever started this thread with his seemingly innocent question SHOULD BURN IN >HELL!!! AAUUGGGHH!!!! ENOUGH ABOUT NIF!!
>
>March 20, 2016 at 8:44 PM

I thought you are the same guy who says stop talking about LANL this is an LLNL Blog. The blog finally talks something at LLNL and you lose it.

Anonymous said...

It looked good in the Star Trek movie. A multi billion dollar movie prop.....figures. Hey, can we move it any closer to Greenville road?

Anonymous said...

Oh come now, NIF was a complete failure considering the namesake mission of "ignition". It will never get there, and if you doubt this, keep this thread in mind in the future. When you are on your deathbed, ask yourself, "Was she right?"

Yes, NIF is useful for some other things, provided the money keeps flowing from Washington to the tune of several hundred million dollars a year. Is it worth the money? You decide, but I guarantee most taxpayers will have a two-letter answer to that question, so it is a matter of time until it gets mothballed. That might happen under the next administration.

Anonymous said...

March 20, 2016 at 8:44 PM

Maybe it has something to do with 5 billion dollars spent on something that didn't perform as advertised? You think people should just dismiss that and move on? I think that is a topic worthy of discussion. And this discussion centers on whether or not NIF will ever make the fusion power breakthrough that was promised.

5 billion may have been better spent on anything other than the dismal failure that ICF has been.

Anonymous said...

March 20, 2016 at 8:28 PM

Really? Tell me where LIFE stands currently. LIFE is still being funded? Must be a covert project cuz' I sure haven't heard anything about it. Please, tell us more about this covert project.

NIF? It failed to achieve one of the major design goals, ignition. That is a fact.

Anonymous said...

March 20, 2016 at 3:11 PM

The French, Russians, Chinese and India have undertaken efforts to copy NIF. Kudos to all now and previously involved.

These efforts are not billed as fusion energy projects. Big difference.

Anonymous said...

The former head of Sandia's fusion program is now the NIF director. That tells you that NIF will be well funded permanently.
Even at the height of NIF's failure this was seen as a move up.

Anonymous said...

The head of one failed program jumps ship to head a bigger failed program = eternal funding? I don't think so!

Anonymous said...

LLNL logic: head of a failed program jumps ship to head a bigger failed program = eternal funding.

I don't think so!

Anonymous said...

Actually, it seems to be working for LLNL.

Anonymous said...

So ... NIf took a first peak at the challenges of ignition using target ignition theories from the 90s based on data taken in the 80s on devices with 1% of NIFs available energy. That campaign ended some time ago. Good. A starting point and challenges were identified from the new data. Fusion Science advanced beyond the 90s. Good.

It is now seving a giant very happy user community. Having delivered data from somewhere near 700 "experiment shots". It will pass 1000 late this year. It is being imitated by all of our nuclear arms competitors ( ~ 20B$ planned). In this science based stockpile stewardship role, helping to develop both the science and the scientists necessary to certify the stockpile for many years without UG tests. (The last scientist to participate in a UG test will retire in the next five years.) So it is kinda important.

And that could be the end of the story. But new scientists can use the data from this operating regime to create new ignition models, with new targets, snd more campaigns to develop a 2020-2030 prediction of what it takes to achieve ignition. That too is a significant advancement in the understanding of fusion.

The underlying science doesn't care a whit about what you think about it. It is a challenge perhaps of many lifetimes of some smart people to pursue it.


Meanwhile hundreds of experiments illuminate weapons science each year. It is pretty remarkable to behold.

Anonymous said...

It kinda nice to know some normal people are moving things along while so much of the country's malcontents bait each other.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a neat toy for grown up scientists.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the tens of thousands of focused students earning their degrees at Berkeley while the hoi polloi ranted the 60s rant around them. Perseverance provides progress. Drama begats drama.

Anonymous said...

6:58 is a good example of groupthink and "happytalk". Clearly valid in a heavily socially controlled environment like LLNL. Sounds like some garbage that the WCI AD would say at HQ.

NIFs are not popping up around the world, weapons science has nothing to do with 300 eV holoraums and plastic ablators, and failure is not an advancement.

$5 Billion is a lot of money for a starting point. And we need lifetimes to understand why it doesn't work.

Anonymous said...


Meanwhile hundreds of experiments illuminate weapons science each year. It is pretty remarkable to behold. "
6:58

Come on this guy is a troll. A decent troll at that but not the best one. He seems almost credible until this last statement where he cannot keep the facade going. Nice try.

Anonymous said...

"The underlying science doesn't care a whit about what you think about it. It is a challenge perhaps of many lifetimes of some smart people to pursue it.
Meanwhile hundreds of experiments illuminate weapons science each year. It is pretty remarkable to behold. "

Thank You ! I'm glad that I made major contributions to ICF and Large Laser Science (Novette, Nova, Beamlet, NIF and LIFE) in my rewarding career at LLNL !

Anonymous said...

March 21, 2016 at 11:11 PM


You should quit responding to your own post. One thing I will say though, your contribution has helped demonstrate ICF has no place as an energy source. Thanks for your time.

Anonymous said...


"Perhaps once beam pointing and energetics during a shot are better characterized, they can be combined with tailored beam designs, more precise target fab technology and updated target physics for another fusion energy campaign to better characterise the challenges in the science of that mission."

Nuts, and here I thought we were making progress.

Anonymous said...

No one will know what it will take to achieve ignition without many, many, many expensive experiments in a regime that is close to ignition. Probably not even with the NIF, since that isn't very close, so now we are talking about using a world-famous failure to justify an even bigger facility with a lot (how much? 10x? 100x?) more energy, hoping that that, finally, is enough. Believing otherwise and trusting the codes is what got us our multibillion dollar world-famous failure.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that the rest of the DOE/NNSA now has to live with the promises of NIF and the failure that it was sold for one thing and that it may never happen. Cost escalation for a construction project (over $5B to build), annual operating costs of $200 million per year (can you say life cycle of $2B per decade), cannot achieve its mission. So let's think of what other facilities fit this model? CMRR, MFFF, PDCF, HEU. All designed at a cost of a few $100 million to several billion dollars to construct, but all in the toilet cause the cost too much,. Yet we need them to support the missions that they were sold for, and we are left with "well it's too expensive", "we have found a cheaper way", to karts just burry it in the ground much like an ostrich buried its head in the sand. Can you say dilution is not the solution to pollution?

Anonymous said...

Here we are at the same place all NIF threads lead to. What a joke. Can we ever get past this sick obsession?

Anonymous said...

Here we are at the same place all NIF threads lead to. What a joke. Can we ever get past this sick obsession?

March 22, 2016 at 9:53 PM

NIF showed that mediocre scientists who make huge crazy claims will not deliver as promised. This is one of the most valuable lessons the nation and humanity can learn and NIF is shinning example of this for all of human history to look at and learn. This alone is worth every penny and indignation. Sometimes we have to accept that we are put on earth to be examples for others as to what to leads to failure and for this NIF should take pride at being such an example.

Anonymous said...

From
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2016/03/23/nuclear-fusion-reactor-research/#.VvLvvn-9KSP


“I don’t think we’re at that place where we know what we need to do in order to get over the threshold,” says Mark Herrman, director of the National Ignition Facility in California. “We’re still learning what the science is. We may have eliminated some perturbations, but if we eliminate those, is there another thing hiding behind them? And there almost certainly is, and we don’t know how hard that will be to tackle.”

Anonymous said...

“I don’t think we’re at that place where we know what we need to do in order to get over the threshold,” says Mark Herrman, director of the National Ignition Facility in California.

Says it all. The dumbass doesn't know s**t, but is plowing ahead regardless. Gives a new slant on the old adage to "Do something, even if it's wrong."

Anonymous said...

At least he's honest and saying it like it is. Ed Moses would have insisted they are right at the threshold, a few things to tidy up and boom, great things are happening and we're just about to enter a new era, blah blah.

Anonymous said...

“I don’t think we’re at that place where we know what we need to do in order to get over the threshold,” says Mark Herrman, director of the National Ignition Facility in California.

Clearly an apparatchik for the weapons program. Will never push for ignition, since he doesn't have a clue or the inspiration to find out.

Anonymous said...

Mark's cooment is a summary of the current state of lsser driven ignition science. It is consistent with the elaboration of the first post. Meanwhile weapons science, the other important user is devouring shot times and clamors for more.

Anonymous said...

No one has a clue beyond guessing, and that is the central problem of ignition in ICF. Push for ignition v2.0 means spending vast fortunes of fresh taxpayer money on experiments and diagnostics, because the simulations are nearly worthless. Herrman doesn't have that kind of money and he probably never will. NIF should be renamed the national weapons physics facility.

Anonymous said...

Weapons science is dubious. All their EOS experiments are garbage. They mainly rely on fabricating results or getting in some irrelevant regime where nobody knows what's going on. The RT strength experiments are, as they admit, for code comparison purposes. Not really sure what a 300 eV holoraum with a plastic ablator has to do with secondaries. We did do 1000 nuclear tests so we should know what's going on by now. Anyway, the designs will never change so what is the point anyway? Getting data from these above ground science projects is a good example of what is called "information bias":

Information bias is a type of cognitive bias, and involves a distorted evaluation of information. An example of information bias is believing that the more information that can be acquired to make a decision, the better, even if that extra information is irrelevant for the decision.

Anonymous said...

The new science at NIF: tons of trashy data to compare with crappy computer codes run on bigger, more expensive computers that get the wrong answers faster and faster. Thank you, Mr. Taxpayer!

Anonymous said...

Another garbage publication from NIF

http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/pop/23/5/10.1063/1.4943527

Difficult to read because it's 19 pages of excrement. I guess they blame everything on "degradations" they see in the code. They're lucky that no one there has the ability to engage in inductive reasoning.

Anonymous said...

They were talking about tent perturbations 15 years ago, and waved their hands that it would not be an issue. Now, because they never bothered to calculate it properly, they claim it is the central issue? Maybe, maybe not, but it does leave the reader feeling like they are grasping at straws, and tuning the simulations to give the results they want to see.

Anonymous said...

http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/pop/23/5/10.1063/1.4943527

Symmetric compression ratios as high as 40? What are these guys smokin?! More to the the point, are their funding managers at NNSA mainlining?

Anonymous said...

The "tent talk" is good example of "managing up". It's a simple explanation that managers can understand and repeat. I've also heard people at other laboratories talking about the tent. Good job guys! You could win the Lawrence Award like Mohammed Tsunami if you can keep this up!

Anonymous said...

Moses-Hurricane High Foot Break-Even has been replaced by Big Tent. What a circus.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reference,

http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/pop/23/5/10.1063/1.4943527

great article !

Detailed simulations compared to the shot data. Nobody ever said that ICF would be easy.

Anonymous said...

Nobody ever said that ICF would be easy.

March 28, 2016 at 11:51 AM

You are wrong ! ICF was launched at Livermore by charlatans who said that it would only take 10 kJ to reach breakeven. Only the numbers have changed.

Anonymous said...

Well yes !

10 kJ of incoherent x-rays uniformly irradiating and ablating a perfectly spherical plastic target containing a perfect cryogenic DT inner layer with a perfect ICF pulse shape of 20-ns duration.

What don't you understand ?

Anonymous said...

Now that LLNL has achieved such great things on NIF, can there be a discussion about shutting down U Rochester Omega and Sandia's Z machine? It seems like the cost savings would be enormous, maybe $160M.

Anonymous said...

What is so hard to understand about the advancement of science. 10 KJ. 100 MJ. 1GJ. Scientists don't make wishes come true. They, if they are lucky, sometimes discover what is, or what is not. Don't like it? Grow up. Prophets don't exist.

Anonymous said...

Nothing in contolled fusion today has a place as an energy source in the foreseeable future. Not with unlimited oil at $10s per barrel.

Anonymous said...

Unless the next administration continues the policies of this one to subvert and destroy the fossil fuel industry in the US.

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