Achieveing fusion is a complex task. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Lawrence Livermore National Security
Researchers have passed a crucial milestone in their ongoing efforts to create sustainble fusion power.
Nuclear fusion, the process that takes place within the sun, has long been sought after as the holy grail of power generation. If an effective self-sustaining nuclear fusion reactor could be built then it would be one of the greatest scientific achievements of the modern age, providing clean and limitless power to everyone without any of the dangers associated with conventional nuclear fission power plants. Unsurprisingly scientists have been pursuing this dream for decades.
Now researchers at the National Ignition Facility in California have managed to pass a major milestone in the creation of sustainable fusion by conducting an experiment in which the amount of energy produced by the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy absorbed.
To accomplish this, scientists used 192 beams from the world's most powerful laser to heat up a pellet of hydrogen fuel to the point at which fusion occurs. The team hopes to eventually achieve what they refer to as "ignition", the point at which the fusion reaction is able to produce as much power as the lasers supply.
Source: BBC News | Comments (18)