The US Department of Energy announced an accomplishment in nuclear fusion that will go down in history – scientists have produced more energy in fusion than what was used to activate it.
The feat, called ‘net energy gain,’ has been the holy grail of scientists who have been on a decades-long quest to harness the same energy that powers the sun and stars
A team of scientists made the breakthrough at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California on December 5, which houses a sports stadium-sized facility equipped with 192 lasers.
The experiment saw the high-energy laser converge on a target about the size of a peppercorn, heating a capsule of hydrogen to more than 180 million degrees Fahrenheit and ‘briefly simulated the conditions of a star,’ said Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories Director Dr Kim Budil.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm called the breakthrough a ‘landmark achievement.’
Granholm said scientists at Livermore and other national labs do work that will help the US ‘solve humanity’s most complex and pressing problems, like providing clean power to combat climate change and maintaining a nuclear deterrent without nuclear testing.’