Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 49 / Number 3 / April 2006 / Pages 532-541
Technical Paper / Fast Ignition
Using a simple inertial fusion energy (IFE) power plant economic model, it is demonstrated that there are several potential advantages of an IFE power plant based upon fast ignition targets compared with one based upon central ignition targets. The fast ignition version can have a lower cost of electricity (COE) at the same output power, and a smaller fast ignition plant can have the same COE as a larger central ignition plant. This paper also considers the chamber issues raised by using fast ignition targets. Some direct-drive chamber concepts must be larger for cone-focus fast ignition targets because of the increase in the X-ray output. On the other hand, the use of fast ignition hohlraum targets may allow the use of thick-liquid-wall chambers, bringing the benefits of a smaller chamber and containment building, smaller amounts of hazardous waste, and a faster and cheaper development path. However, many technology issues need resolution before these benefits can become a reality.