Proposed Laser ignition Fusion/Fission Hybrid Commercial Power by 2030

LIFE, an acronym for Laser Inertial Fusion-Fission Energy, is an advanced energy concept under development at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

Conceptual design for a LIFE engine and power plant based on National
Ignition Facility (NIF)-like fusion targets and a NIF-like laser
operating at an energy of 1.4 megajoules (MJ) at a wavelength of 350
nanometers (ultraviolet), with a 2.5-meter-radius target chamber and
with the final optics at a distance of 25 meters from the target. The
National Ignition Campaign will begin during 2009, and ignition and
fusion energy yields of 10 to 15 megajoules (MJ) are anticipated during
fiscal years 2010 or 2011. Fusion yields of 20 to 35 MJ are expected
soon thereafter. Ultimately fusion yields of 100 MJ are expected on
NIF. The LIFE system is designed to operate with fusion energy gains of
about 25 to 30 and fusion yields of about 35 to 50 MJ to provide about
500 megawatts (MW) of fusion power – about 80 percent of which comes in
the form of 14.1 million electron-volt (MeV) neutrons with the rest of
the energy in X-rays and ions. This is an approach which would be as
good as and in some ways superior to liquid flouride thorium reactors.
Improvements in lasers and cost reduction with laser components would
meet the requirements of this project if current trends continue. A
success with aneutronic nuclear fusion such as might occur with Bussard
Inertial electrostatic fusion, dense plasma focus fusion would likely
be superior to this. It would be worthwhile to fund several of these
vastly superior approaches to nuclear fission and fusion for a billion
or few billion each in order to get many multiple trillions of payoff
with a homerun energy success. Even partial success with one of these
approaches could deal with all of the current nuclear waste (unburned
fuel) which would cost tens of billions to store in a place like Yucca

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