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Prospects of Generating Power with Laser-Driven Fusion

Prospects of Generating Power with Laser-Driven Fusion

The present status of the prospects for electric power generation with laser-driven fusion as the primary energy source is reviewed. The fundamentals of laser-fusion reactor design and attendant means of utilizing the thermonuclear energy for commercial electric power generation are discussed. Theoretical fusion-pellet microexplosion energy release characteristics and the requirements for high-energy short-pulse leasers are described. The results of analyses to assess the engineering feasibility of reactor cavities, for which protection of cavity components is provided either by suitable ablative materials, or by diversion of plasmas by magnetic fields, are presented. Two conceptual laser-fusion electric generating stations, based on different laserfusion reactor concepts, are described. Also the environmental and safety aspects of laser fusion energy systems and alternative means of fusion energy utilization, other than electric power via the conventional heat engine cycle, are briefly reviewed.


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