In the United States, scientists have managed to generate more energy than the amount of energy used to cause the reaction. That’s according to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).
Nuclear fusion has been the holy grail of energy production for decades. Despite all the big predictions about the environment and safety, it seems unfeasible to quickly make nuclear fusion viable on an industrial scale.
The amount of energy would be even greater than a previous test in December that was considered “historic,” according to Paul Rhien, a spokesman for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). “On July 30, the new test produced a higher yield than the December 2022 experiment,” Rhien said. US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm declared that the breakthrough “will go down in the history books.”
By December 2022, scientists had produced 3.15 megajoules of energy, using 2.05 megajoules by laser. However, activating the lasers required 300 megajoules from the electrical grid, so the operation was still generating losses.
The exact results of the experiment, which uses powerful lasers, will have to wait a while. For decades, researchers around the world have been trying to develop nuclear fusion, simply put, the opposite of nuclear fission, the technique currently used in nuclear power plants.
Nuclear fission consists of splitting the nucleus of a heavy atom, releasing energy. In nuclear fusion, two light nuclei fuse together, a reaction that is completely normal in the Sun, for example.
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