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Science & Technology

Scientists achieve nuclear fusion net energy gain for second time

By T.K. Randall
August 7, 2023 · Comment icon 6 comments

Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
The achievement represents another step toward unlimited clean energy that could revolutionize the world.
Often seen as the Holy Grail of power generation, nuclear fusion is the same process that produces energy in the Sun and works by fusing hydrogen nuclei together to create helium.

Unlike nuclear fission which comes with the inherent risk of a meltdown, fusion is much cleaner and safer while the hydrogen fuel used by the process is so abundant that it is practically limitless.

While physicists have been attempting to build a working nuclear fusion reactor for the purpose of energy generation for over 60 years, success has always remained tantalizingly out of reach.
This latest achievement, however, which comes courtesy of scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility in California, could be the real deal.

This is now the second time that the team has succeeded in producing a net energy gain using nuclear fusion, paving the way toward using the technology for large-scale energy generation.

To put things into perspective, a single kilogram of fusion fuel (made up of deuterium and tritium) can produce the same amount of energy as 10 million kilograms of regular fossil fuels.

It might be some time yet, however, before fusion is ready to replace conventional power plants.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (6)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Abramelin 9 months ago
It might be some time yet, however, before fusion is ready to replace conventional power plants.   They have been saying this for at least 50 years.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Trelane 9 months ago
Baby steps.
Comment icon #3 Posted by NCC1701 9 months ago
It will be in 20-30 years.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Earl.Of.Trumps 9 months ago
This is excellent news, although we don't see much celebration over it from all those climate activists. hmmm,,, 
Comment icon #5 Posted by DieChecker 9 months ago
A baby step forward, and about 500 million more steps to go. Even if they got the output to be exceptional, and more then the required ignition laser power, this uses tritium, which has to be artificially created.  It's like needing to create the coal that a coal plant burns. At least right now it is looking that way.  Sure there are breeder blankets that can be used theoretically, but IIRC that will never be a 100% replacement source. Lots more steps to go. I'd think 100+ years. Not in our lifetimes, or those of our kids. At least not as a commercial product. Maybe a research fusion plant m... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by Abramelin 8 months ago

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