Breakthrough on nuclear fusion: live updates
US Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has made an announcement about a “major scientific breakthrough” in nuclear fusion at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
These recent results on the NIF (National Ignition Facility) are the first time in a laboratory anywhere on Earth we were able to demonstrate more energy coming out of a fusion reaction than was put in.
This lays the groundwork. It demonstrates the basic scientific feasibility of inertial fusion energy and sets the roadmap for us to move forward to have even higher gains and towards fusion power pilot plants in the coming decades.
To give you a sense of scale and just how remarkable these diagnostics are, the plasma we are trying to measure is a tenth of a millimeter in diameter. That’s the thickness of a strand of human hair.
The most important component that we deliver for fusion targets is the fuel capsule. A fuel capsule is a BB point sized shell made of diamond that needs to be as perfect as possible.
We’ve been working over the last sixteen years on it and continuously improving the quality of these shells to get to the state where we are today.
For a very short amount of time, we are talking about only a few billionth of seconds, it exceeds the entire grid, entire US power grid.
The NIF is the largest laser in the world. It has the size of three football fields. And delivers an energy in excess of 2 million joules with a peak power of 500 trillion watts.
We were able to reach pressures two times the center of the Sun on the last experiment and about 150 million degrees.
We don't just smack the target with all the laser and all the energy at once. We define very specific powers at specific times to acheive the desired conditions.
I want to be clear, ultimately this experiment, as Kim mentioned, drew 300 megajoules from the grid in order to fire the laser. The laser wasn’t designed to be efficient. The laser was designed to give us as much juice as possible. To make this incredible conditions possible.
I don’t want to give you a sense that we’re going to plug the NIF (National Ignition Facility) into the grid; that’s not how this works," Budil tells reporters, but this is the fundamental building block of an inertial confinement fusion power scheme.
LLNL’s experiment surpassed the fusion threshold by delivering 2.05 megajoules (MJ) of energy to the target, resulting in 3.15 MJ of fusion energy output, demonstrating for the first time a most fundamental science basis for inertial fusion energy
The pursuit of fusion ignition in the laboratory is one of the most significant scientific challenges ever tackled by humanity, and achieving it is a triumph of science, engineering, and most of all, people.
Crossing this threshold is the vision that has driven 60 years of dedicated pursuit — a continual process of learning, building, expanding knowledge and capability, and then finding ways to overcome the new challenges that emerged. These are the problems that the U.S. national laboratories were created to solve.
Press release on nuclear fusion reaction breakthrough
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California which has been researching nuclear fusion announced that on 5 December they were able to produce more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to drive it.
Nuclear fusion explained: What is it and why is it so difficult to achieve?
The search for clean limitless energy has been going on for decades. Nuclear fission it was thought would provide so much cheap clean energy that meters would no longer be necessary. However, the radioactive waste, a handful of accidents and nuclear weapons have turned many against splitting atoms to provide electricity.
Since at least the 1930s though, scientists have also been working on nuclear fusion. The US government has been funding research into harnessing the power of the Sun here on Earth since the 1950s. It currently pumps around $700 million annually into the endeavor.
Why is the nuclear fusion energy breakthrough announced today so important?
Researchers have been investigating nuclear fusion as a source of nearly limitless clean energy since at least the 1930s. Billions of dollars have been invested in the search for the “Holy Grail” of the zero-carbon energy source.
The saying goes that the cheap source of electricity is only a decade away but several have passed. However, the Financial Times reported that researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have made a major breakthrough.
Hello and welcome to AS USA.
US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is due to make an announcement about a “major scientific breakthrough” at the nuclear fusion reactor at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
It's expected that she will confirm reporting that the experimental fusion reactor there acheived a net energy gain of 120 percent, well above the level needed to make nuclear fusion commercially viable.
Follow along as she shares what the scientists have accomplished.
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