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Fusion Energy Quest Faces Boundaries of Budget, Science

A large banner hangs from the front of the stadium-size building that houses the world's most powerful array of lasers: "Bringing Star Power To Earth." For the past four years, physicists  at the National Ignition Facility, or NIF, in Livermore, California, have been trying to harness nuclear fusion, the same reaction that powers the sun and the stars. Supporters of the $3.5 billion facility believe that a successful outcome to the experiments could help usher in an era of nearly limitless energy. But the ambitious fusion research program at NIF now faces an uncertain future, both politically and scientifically.

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