Aug 12, 2022

Nuclear fusion breakthrough confirmed: California team achieved ignition

Posted by in categories: nuclear energy, particle physics

If we could harness fusion to generate electricity, it would be one of the most efficient and least polluting sources of energy possible.

A major breakthrough in nuclear fusion has been confirmed a year after it was achieved at a laboratory in California.

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) National Ignition Facility (NIF) recorded the first case of ignition on August 8, 2021, the results of which have now been published in three peer-reviewed papers.

Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the Sun and other stars: heavy hydrogen atoms collide with enough force that they fuse together to form a helium atom, releasing large amounts of energy as a by-product. Once the hydrogen plasma “ignites”, the fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining, with the fusions themselves producing enough power to maintain the temperature without external heating.

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