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Nuclear fusion energy breakthrough

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California achieved a milestone in nuclear fusion research: a ‘net energy gain’, a fusion reaction that produced more energy than it took to create, the U.S. Department of Energy announced.

“Simply put, this is one of the most impressive scientific feats of the 21st century,” Jennifer Granholm, U.S. energy secretary, said at a press conference, adding that researchers have been working on this for decades. This is a step in the direction of zero-carbon fusion energy, that could eliminate the need for fossil fuels.

“We’ve known how to fuse atoms and generate energy. We just haven’t been able to control it,” NBC News quotes deGrasse Tyson. Unlike nuclear energy, fusion power produces no nuclear waste, if the process can be controlled.

The ITER project in Southern France, brings together experts from 35 countries to research fusion and its feasibility as “a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy based on the same principle that powers our Sun and stars,” the project outlines.

Photo: To create fusion ignition, laser energy is converted into X-rays, which then compress a fuel capsule until it implodes, creating a high-temperature, high-pressure plasma. Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory