National Ignition Facility

The National Ignition Facility, or NIF, is a large, laser-based inertial confinement fusion (ICF) research device located at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, USA. NIF uses powerful lasers to heat and compress a small amount of hydrogen fuel to the point where nuclear fusion reactions take place. NIF's mission is to achieve fusion ignition with high energy gain, and to support nuclear weapon maintenance and design by studying the behavior of matter under the conditions found within nuclear weapons. NIF is the largest and most energetic ICF device built to date.

Construction began in 1997 but management problems and technical delays slowed progress into the early 2000s, when a new management team took over. Progress after 2000 was much smoother, but compared to initial estimates, NIF was completed five years behind schedule and was almost four times more expensive than originally budgeted. Construction was certified complete on 31 March 2009 by the U.S. Department of Energy, and a dedication ceremony took place on 29 May 2009. The first large-scale laser target experiments were performed in June 2009 and the first "integrated ignition experiments" (which tested the laser's power) were declared completed in October 2010.

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Inertial Confinement Fusion - History of ICF - National Ignition Facility
... The resulting design, now known as the National Ignition Facility, started construction at LLNL in 1997 ... The first credible attempts at ignition were initially scheduled for 2010 ...

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