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Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
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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."