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  • btc = $66 333.00 974.10 (1.49 %)

  • eth = $3 618.05 71.04 (2.00 %)

  • ton = $7.27 0.39 (5.68 %)

13 Dec, 2022
2 min time to read

Nuclear fusion breakthrough could end dependence on fossil fuels.

For the first time in history, American scientists at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have successfully carried out a nuclear fusion reaction, resulting in a net gain in energy. The information was confirmed by Mark Herrmann, program director for weapons physics and design at the Livermore lab.

It happened the morning of 5 December, when scientists used 192 giant lasers at the laboratory’s National Ignition Facility to blast a small cylinder. That contained a frozen nubbin of hydrogen encased in a diamond. The laser beams entered at the top and bottom of the cylinder, vaporizing it. That generated an inward onslaught of X-rays that compresses a BB-size fuel pellet of deuterium and tritium, the heavier forms of hydrogen.

Less than 100 trillionths of a second, 2.05 megajoules of energy (roughly the equivalent of a pound of TNT) affect on hydrogen pellet. As a result scientists got flowed a flood of neutron particles which carried the energy equivalent of about 1.5 pounds of TNT. In this way, they got an energy gain of about 1.5.

“The fact that we were able to get more energy out than we put in provides an existence proof that this is possible. It can be built on and improved upon and made better and could potentially be a source of energy in the future” said Mark Herrmann, program director for weapons physics and design at the Livermore lab

This crossed the threshold that scientists call ignition. It’s a process when the energy generated by fusion equals the energy of the incoming lasers that start the reaction. 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 (IFE).

Researchers for decades have attempted to recreate nuclear fusion – replicating the energy that powers the sun. The result of the experiment would be a massive step in a decadeslong quest to unleash an infinite source of clean energy that could help end dependence on fossil fuels. It may help to reduce the need for power plants burning coal and natural gas, which pumps billions of tons of planet-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.