Scientists achieve net energy gain in new fusion reaction test

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Nuclear fusion has been pursued by researchers for years as the key to the world’s energy future. Clean, efficient, reliable, and powerful, nuclear fusion would change the world, and undercut the debate between solar and wind and fossil fuels almost overnight.

Yet for decades researchers have failed to prove that nuclear fusion can work in the real world, despite hundreds of millions (if not more) spent by governments and foundations across the world.

Now, however, scientists may have turned a corner. According to Fox Business, US scientists working out of a California laboratory “achieved a net energy gain in a fusion reaction.”

Fox Business reports:

“Scientists have been struggling since the 1950s to harness the fusion reaction that powers the sun. But no group has been able to produce more energy from the reaction than it consumes. 

“Though developing fusion power stations at scale is still decades away, the breakthrough has significant implications as the world seeks to wean itself off of fossil fuels. Fusion reactions emit zero carbon and do not produce any long-lasting radioactive waste. Per The Times, a small cup of hydrogen fuel could potentially power a house for hundreds of years. 

“‘If this is confirmed, we are witnessing a moment of history,’ said Dr Arthur Turrell, a plasma physicist, told the paper. ‘Scientists have struggled to show that fusion can release more energy than is put in since the 1950s, and the researchers at Lawrence Livermore seem to have finally and absolutely smashed this decades-old goal.’

“U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and under-secretary for nuclear security Jill Hruby are expected to formally announce ‘a major scientific breakthrough’ at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on Tuesday.”

Read the full story in Fox Business here.

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