Apr 9, 2009
By Marylia Kelley, TriValley CARES
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."
Then, read the government's press release of March 31, "Department of Energy Announces Completion of World's Largest Laser."
In the classic struggle between science and public relations, the point goes to Bodner. Click here for Dr. Bodner's biography.