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LIFE: The Case for Early Commercialization of Fusion Energy

Thomas M. Anklam, Mike Dunne, Wayne R. Meier, Sarah Powers, Aaron J. Simon

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 60 / Number 1 / July 2011 / Pages 66-71

IFE - NIF & LIFE / Proceedings of the Nineteenth Topical Meeting on the Technology of Fusion Energy (TOFE) (Part 1) /

This paper presents the case for early commercialization of laser inertial fusion energy (LIFE). Results taken from systems modeling of the US electrical generating enterprise quantify the benefits of fusion energy in terms of carbon emission, nuclear waste and plutonium production avoidance. Sensitivity of benefits-gained to timing of market-entry is presented. These results show the importance of achieving market entry in the 2030 time frame. Economic modeling results show that fusion energy can be competitive with other low-carbon energy sources. The paper concludes with a description of the LIFE commercialization path. It proposes constructing a demonstration facility capable of continuous fusion operations within 10 to 15 years. This facility will qualify the processes and materials needed for a commercial fusion power plant.

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