Here’s a look inside the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s $5 billion National Ignition Facility, where scientists recently got a tiny bit closer to their goal of creating a controlled fusion reaction by mimicking the interior of the sun inside the hardware of a laboratory.
The single largest piece of equipment at the National Ignition Facility is its 130-ton target chamber. The design features six symmetric middle plates and 12 asymmetric outer plates, which were poured at the Ravenswood Aluminum Mill in Ravenswood, W.Va. The plates were shipped to Creusot-Loire Industries in France, where the plates were heated and then shaped in a giant press. The formed plates were shipped from France to Precision Components in York, Pa., where they were trimmed and weld joints were prepared. Assembly and welding activities at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, seen here, were performed in a temporary cylindrical steel enclosure that looks like an oil or water tank. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Buy Photo