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Fusion Breakthrough: US Experiment Hits Monumental 'Ignition' Milestone


Scientists have made a "breakthrough" in their quest to harness nuclear fusion.

The US Department of Energy officially announced the milestone in fusion energy research on Tuesday.

For the first time, researchers created a nuclear fusion reaction that produced more energy than they put into it.

The experiment, conducted on December 5 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, generated 3.15 megajoules of energy, more than the 2.05 megajoules put into creating it.

"Scientifically, this is the first time that they showed that this is possible," Gianluca Sarri, a physicist at Queen's University Belfast, told New Scientist. "From theory, they knew that it should happen, but it was never seen in real life experimentally."

What is fusion energy and why is it a big deal?

Nuclear fusion works by forcing together two atoms – most often hydrogen – to make a heavier one – like helium.

This explosive process releases massive amounts of energy, the Department of Energy explains. Fusion is the opposite of fission, the reaction that powers nuclear reactors used commercially today.



Published on 12/14/2022 (98 days ago) Nuclear