Russia is set to build the world’s most powerful dual-purpose laser station at the approximate cost of 45 billion rubles ($1.5 billion), a Russian nuclear official said on Thursday.
The station might be built near the Sarov Federal Nuclear Center in Russia's Nizhny Novgorod region, said the head of the nuclear center, Ildar Ilkayev, but he did not specify when the construction would begin.
“The Russian leadership made a decision to build the world’s largest laser station… The United States has already constructed a similar station and France is about to complete the construction of their own station. We [Russia] are behind them because it costs a lot, but it will be the best one in the world,” Ilkayev said.
The mooted station, he said, will be both used for military and scientific purposes, particularly in the research of laser thermonuclear fusion, which scientists believe to be the backbone of the energy production in the future.
Ilkayev said it would take at least 10 years to build the station. It will be capable of directing 2.8 million joules of ultraviolet laser energy compared to the output of the U.S. and French stations of two mega joules.
The official also opts for the station, which will be 360 meters in width and as tall as a 10-storey building, to be open for all scientists, including from other countries.
U.S. California-based the National Ignition Facility (NIF) was put into operation in 2009 and is currently the world’s largest laser, occupying the territory of approximately three football fields. Its 192 intense laser beams are capable of delivering 60 times the energy of any previous laser systems to a target.