IMHO some folks, like those you identify at LLNL, are stuck in the dogma of hot
fusion being practical in the future.
It’s not that simple. Sure, ITER is a long-running brain-dead boondoggle, but
there are signs of intelligence at other Labs.
In fact, a hybrid form of hot fusion with targets made of UDD is practical and
with this kind of ICF target a desktop laser can be used.
The footprint for hot fusion becomes much smaller and much less expensive.
This can happen with the dense form of deuterium. It is a paradigm shift.
Essentially, at least as far as what is publicly available - Holmlid is closer
to this goal of small hot/cold hybrid fusion than the billion dollar efforts…
… unless that is, they are working under the radar on it at LLNL, and you have
to think they are. Friedwardt Winterberg was predicting something like this 50
years ago. He is almost 90 but still teaches physics. I hope he is around to
see the results. But the timing is uncertain, shall we say. The great
Heisenberg was his doctoral advisor <g>