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Energy officials announce breakthrough in fusion, heralding ‘milestone to clean energy future’

U.S. Department of Energy employee announced A history-making achievement in fusion Tuesday. For the first time, US scientists produced more energy from nuclear fusion than the laser energy used to power the experiment.

The so-called “net energy gain” is major milestone A decades-long attempt to source clean, limitless energy from nuclear fusion – the reaction that occurs when two or more atoms fuse together.

The experiment injected 2.05 megajoules of energy into the target and produced a fusion energy output of 3.15 megajoules. More than 50% more energy was produced than was put in.

“This groundbreaking scientific breakthrough is a milestone for the future of clean energy,” said Democratic Senator Alex Padilla of California.

This breakthrough discovery was made on December 5 by a team of scientists at the National Ignition Facility, a facility about the size of a sports stadium and equipped with 192 lasers, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. was broken.

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm called the breakthrough a “groundbreaking achievement” in a statement.

Granholm said scientists at Livermore and other national laboratories believe that the United States should “provide clean power to combat climate change, maintain nuclear deterrence without nuclear testing, and so on. He said he was conducting research that would help “solve pressing problems in the United States.”

Livermore director Dr. Kim Budil called the scientists’ attempt to achieve fusion ignition in the laboratory “one of the most important scientific challenges humanity has ever tackled,” she said. I applauded the work of the lab scientists.

“Achieving it is a triumph for science, engineering and most of all people,” Budir said in a statement. “Crossing this threshold is the vision that has driven 60 years of dedicated pursuit. These are the problems our national laboratories were made to solve.”

Why net energy gains matter

There is still a long way to go Nuclear fusion It feeds the power grid and you don’t have to worry about a single power plant itself. Tony Rollstone, a fusion expert at the University of Cambridge’s School of Engineering, said the US project was groundbreaking, but it only produced enough energy to boil about 2.5 gallons of water. told CNN.

That may not seem like a big deal, but experiments are still very important as scientists have demonstrated that they can actually produce more energy than they started with. There are many more steps to take, but that’s a big hurdle to getting over fusion, experts say.

“This is very important because from an energy perspective, you can’t be an energy source if you don’t put out more energy than you put in,” said Carbon Direct’s Chief Scientist and former Chief Energy Officer. Technician Julio Friedmann said. Livermore said he told CNN on Monday. “Previous breakthroughs were important, but that’s not the same as generating energy that could one day be used on a larger scale.”

https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/12/13/energy-officials-announce-nuclear-fusion-breakthrough-herald-a-milestone-for-the-future-of-clean-energy/ Energy officials announce breakthrough in fusion, heralding ‘milestone to clean energy future’

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