Nuclear Science:

Factors Leading to the Termination of the Antares Laser Research Program

RCED-90-160: Published: Jun 13, 1990. Publicly Released: Aug 15, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the termination of the Antares Laser Research Program at the Department of Energy's (DOE) Los Alamos National Laboratory.

GAO found that: (1) DOE terminated the laser research program at the end of fiscal year 1985 because of a technical problem; (2) Los Alamos discovered that long-wavelength lasers generated electrons that preheated the target containing the fuel for the fusion reaction, thereby preventing fusion; (3) DOE and Los Alamos believed the problem would have required developing an impractical and expensive laser system for effective use; (4) Los Alamos efforts to fix the technical problem were unsuccessful; (5) Los Alamos conducted two technical evaluations and concluded that the Antares technology was not a good candidate for achieving fusion; and (6) two scientific panels' reviews supported the Los Alamos conclusion.

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