San Francisco Chronicle: The National Nuclear Security Administration in charge of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has requested extended funding from the US Congress. The National Ignition Facility at LLNL originally had a deadline for the end of this year to achieve “ignition,” or the successful implosion of hydrogen fuel resulting in fusion. After three years of experiments, that goal has not been achieved, and the NNSA is asking for funding for another three years. How close the facility is to success is a matter of some debate, and the cost to date of the facility of more than $5 billion makes many members of Congress skeptical about the likelihood of future success. NIF’s overall goal is to attempt to re-create the effect of hydrogen bombs in a controlled way so that the effects of the aging of the US nuclear stockpile can be determined.