by Bill Sweet
Five billion dollars over its original budget and years behind schedule, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) deserves to be recognized as perhaps the biggest and fattest white elephant of all time.
The giant laser facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in California, was first conceived as a major project to demonstrate one of two alternative paths to harnessing the “energy of the stars” for power production, known as inertial confinement fusion (the other, somewhat more credible, path being magnetic confinement fusion).
With the total tab for NIF now running to an estimated US $7 billion, the laboratory has been pulling out all the stops to claim that success is just around the corner. But “next year” is already years behind schedule, and so far, as William Broad reported in the New York Times last week, NIF simply “has not worked.” Read more.http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/policy/national-ignition-facility-mother-of-all-boondoggles
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Posted by Michele Kearney at 1:07 PM