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24 April 2014 11:45 am ,
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Major climate data sets have underestimated the rate of global warming in the last 15 years owing largely to poor data...
The tsetse fly is best known as the vector for the trypanosome parasites that cause sleeping sickness and a disease in...
The National Institutes of Health is revising its "two strikes" rule, which allowed researchers only one chance to...
By stabilizing the components of retromers, molecular complexes that act like recycling bins in cells, a recently...
Fossil fuels power modern society by generating heat, but much of that heat is wasted. Semiconductor devices called...
Researchers are gaining insights into what made Supertyphoon Haiyan so powerful and devastating through post-storm...
Millions around the world got a first-hand look at what it was like to be in Tacloban while it was pummeled by...
- 24 April 2014 11:45 am , Vol. 344 , #6182
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Small Spark at National Ignition Facility
11 January 2000 5:00 pm
Managers of the half-built, overbudget National Ignition Facility (NIF) at last have something to smile about. An independent panel appointed to get the laser fusion project "back on track" (Science, 10 September 1999, p. 1647) released an interim report this week that gives a qualified thumbs-up to the facility, being assembled at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
The panel did find that the $1.2 billion project has "significant" managerial shortcomings, including inadequate oversight and a shortage of funds for unforeseen problems. However, says chair John McTague, a former vice president with Ford, "the panel has not uncovered any mechanical or technical obstacles that would prevent completion of NIF."
Some observers are less sanguine. The panel has underestimated the engineering challenge of getting a pellet of hydrogen to fuse and release scads of energy, argues the Natural Resources Defense Council's Chris Paine. Besides, he contends, "the report has very little credibility, because it is making an open endorsement for a system of potentially infinite cost."