Fusion energy is arguably the holy grail of energy production. Being safe, clean, abundant, and persistent, fusion energy has the potential to completely change the energy landscape. With recent global developments in fusion, we have never been closer to the possibility of a fusion energy facility. The University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) is uniquely placed as a university laboratory that studies the physics of fusion and pursues new technologies that will be critical for the demonstration of a fusion power plant. In this webinar, we will discuss changes in the global landscape which have kindled the excitement in fusion energy. We will review developments in national-security-funded inertial confinement fusion that drawn attention to inertial fusion as an energy source, including the role of the OMEGA and OMEGA-EP lasers at the LLE. We will also discuss LLE's critical role in bringing us to where we are today and how the laboratory can influence the progress of the fusion energy field going forward. We will discuss the scientific, technological, and engineering challenges that we face toward demonstrating a power plant. Briefly, we emphasize the role of the private sector, including public private partnerships, in this paradigm-changing approach to energy production and also consider the legislative framework needed to demonstrate cost-competitive fusion energy.

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