3.2. Experimental Review Process

Experimental Review Process

Figure 3-2. NIF’s experiment review process.

Gates, assessments, and reviews define the overall structure of the experimental process. Gates are those fixed points in time in the process where the Shot RI provides information about the experiment to support subsequent work and facility feedback. An assessment is defined here to be stakeholder evaluation of current experimental definition in order to gauge readiness to proceed and identify issues that place the shot schedule at risk. The assessment is done offline without Shot RI presence. A review, however, does involve the presence of the Shot RI. It is a forum that involves a presentation by the Shot RI to stakeholders in order to facilitate discussion and allow for issue closure. The green boxes of Figure 3-2 illustrates four assessments that occur for every experiment. The yellow boxes depicts four typical reviews. All reviews except the setup review are called on an as-needed basis. The total set of assessments and reviews is not limited to what is shown in the figure; it will vary with the complexity of the experiment. In general, the number of reviews depends on the degree of difference between the planned experiment and previously shot experiments. Note that program reviews for scientific merit are conducted outside of the process shown in the figure.


Scheduling Assessment

The scheduling assessment considers all experiments within the six-month scheduling period. Submission of the initial definition for each experiment, as described in Section 3.1.2, is required to allow for a draft schedule to be constructed by the programs. During the assessment, the timeframe of experiments on the schedule is reviewed, diagnostic and target capabilities are verified, long-lead items are identified, and optics impacts are assessed. This assessment usually leads to a negotiation between program representatives and facility stakeholders to balance capabilities, physics requirements, and schedule. The result of the assessment is stakeholder agreement with a baseline schedule

Pre-Review Assessment

The pre-review assessment occurs for every experiment on a rolling six-month-to-shot basis. It requires the Shot RI to verify and add experimental data that is in the Shot Planner tool with the help of the project engineer. If the experiment is unique relative to the NIF experiment base, an experiment template is requested to be filled in and submitted as a supplement to the Shot Planner data (see Section 3.2.1). During the assessment, stakeholders evaluate experimental complexity, identify new requirements, and flag issues that affect multiple stakeholders. The result of the pre-review is feedback to the Shot RI on aspects of their experiment plan that require attention or negotiation with facility stakeholders. Any reviews assigned during the assessment are also conveyed to the Shot RI.

Target Review

The target fabrication team follows an engineering design process involving a conceptual design review six months from scheduled shot date and a final design review three months before shot date. At six months, a target request in the PORT tool needs to be created. The target request must include a set of PowerPoint charts that conceptually captures the target con figuration. The notification for the target request is included with the notification of the Pre-Review assessment. Interaction between target engineering,
Shot RI, alignment team, metrology group, and target operations occurs periodically between six and three months, and the final design review represents the culmination of all of the engagement. The review includes representation from all of the aforementioned stakeholders and requires a target drawing and documents for aligning and charactering the target. The result is an agreed-upon target design to begin fabrication.

Diagnostic Review

The diagnostic review occurs three months from the scheduled shot date and requires a list of diagnostics and their assigned priorities to be defined in the Campaign Management Tool (CMT). If all selections are available in CMT, the review becomes an assessment, and no further action is needed by the Shot RI. However, if any diagnostic configurations are not currently selectable in CMT, the RI must attend the review to define those configurations. The result of the review is agreement on diagnostic participation and an initiation of the request process for small new capabilities associated with the diagnostic snout.

Expert Group Assessment

The expert group assessment completes the planning process for new experiments and initiates evaluation of the setup for repeat experiments. An administrative coordinator for the Expert Groups will send the RI a viewgraph template that must be filled out describing the salient aspects of the proposed experiment.
For this assessment, the Shot RI must have a complete laser setup in CMT, a target design, and a list of diagnostics, materials, and target metrology requirements. During the assessment, stakeholders evaluate shot plans relative to the NIF experience base. A review may result to resolve issues (see Section 3.3). The output from this assessment is either concurrence that the planned experiment is safe and executable or a report to the NOM with identified risks that he/ she may or may not choose to accept.

Expert Group Reviews

An expert group review may be called as a result of the expert group assessment so that stakeholders may discuss raised issues with the Shot RI. Typically, issues may arise from expert group assessment of the risk to optics from backscattered laser light, the risk to the facility from target debris and shrapnel, the impact of a requested pulse shape on the laser system, or any other issue relating to matters outside the experience base of safe operations. A presentation is expected from the Shot RI to help facilitate the discussion.

Setup Review

The setup review requires a completed shot setup in CMT, staffing plans, and a rules-of- engagement document. Experimental setup is reviewed for completeness and unresolved stakeholder issues are discussed. The result is a list of outstanding issues.

Final Approvals Assessment

The final approvals assessment requires a complete shot setup with all supporting documentation and closure on setup review action items. During this assessment, stakeholders evaluate that experiment settings are safe for the facility. The result is shot setup approval.