At a ceremony attended by US Secretary of Energy Federico Peña, ground was broken for the National Ignition Facility, the centerpiece of a program to maintain the US nuclear arsenal without nuclear testing.
The $1.2 billion facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California will house a 192-beam laser and will stretch the length of two football fields. There, researchers will create brief bursts of self-sustaining fusion reactions, allowing them to study nuclear weapons physics without conducting controversial underground tests. The modular design will allow for initial experiments using the first bundle of beamlines in 2001. The target date for completion is the year 2003.
MORE FROM PHOTONICS MEDIA