There is nothing in France of which you speak that copies the NIF, in Europe there are feasibility studies being funded;
In October 2008, Hiper received approximately 13m euros of funding to carry out a feasibility study. It also has access to European hardware and capability worth a further 50m euros.
If all goes well, engineers will begin to build the Hiper facility towards the end of the next decade, bringing the vision of a commercial fusion reactor one step closer to reality.
In France they are building ITER, which is a magnetic, not laser, containment scheme;
What about this? http://www.hiper-laser.org/
If we have no competition, all the better when it is made to work for the USA to win at something again, like we used to do in the past. The fusions lasers are able to, in theory:
1) Direct power with heat transfer to boil water like a nuke reactor
2) Develop Gamma ray lasers that can see even through lead to inspect cargo containers at high speed to detect things like nuclear bombs from terrorists
3) With the proliferation treaties, to test nuclear material without blowing it up at a test site (Now illegal)
4) Covert the nuclear waste from nuclear plants from being stored and overflowing into usable for energy from the high energy neutron from fusion
5) It will not just make helium from tritium and deuterium, but nothing holds it back like in the sun in layers, it may go, in small quantities, all the way up to iron giving us research in the process of stars.
6) Other projects that have not been shared to date, but in demand as the lab is booked for experiments for the next two years from paying customers.
Remember, this is a lab and you never know what you find when start research in areas that have never been attempted before. This is one of the few things left we still produce in the USA. Let us not forget we are on the verge of having usable lasers on ships to intercept incoming missiles to protect them during attack at hundreds of miles away. We in the USA have got to do the research and development if we want to stay the best in the world. The Roman Empire, before it fell, did not have much research and development and eventually fell from their short-sightedness.