September 25, 2023



Usa towards the breakthrough on nuclear fusion: the announcement on Tuesday

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Discovery at the National Ignition Facility – The discovery would have taken place at the National Ignition Facility housed in the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in California. Some researchers, interviewed by the Washington Post, confirmed the advances but on the condition of anonymity. The purpose of fusion research is to replicate the nuclear reaction through which energy is created on the Sun. Until now, the experiments had disappointed the expectations of scholars, who had indeed managed to trigger fusion, but using much more energy to obtain it than the reaction itself then released.

Step forward in the quest for carbon-free energy – The British newspaper Financial Times reported hours earlier that scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California recently obtained a “net energy gain” from an experimental fusion reactor. It would be the first time that researchers have succeeded in producing more energy in a fusion reaction – such as the one that powers the Sun – than they expended in the process, which would represent a significant step forward in the search for carbon-free energy.

The US Department of Energy: “We will announce important scientific breakthrough” – Asked for comment on the FT article, spokespersons for the Department of Energy and LLNL told AFP that US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm will host an event Tuesday where she will “announce a major scientific breakthrough “. The LLNL spokesperson added that “the analysis (was) still ongoing”. “We look forward to sharing more information on Tuesday when this process is complete,” she added. The fusion reaction that produced a net 120% energy gain occurred in the past two weeks, the FT reported, citing three people familiar with the preliminary results.

Nuclear fusion, the energy of tomorrow – Nuclear fusion is regarded by its advocates as the energy of tomorrow, particularly as it produces little waste and no greenhouse gases. “If this breakthrough… is real, it could be a game changer for the planet,” California Congressman Ted Lieu tweeted after the FT report was released. Fusion differs from fission, a technique currently used in nuclear power plants, which involves breaking the bonds of heavy atomic nuclei to recover energy. Fusion is the reverse process: we “marry” two light atomic nuclei to create a heavy one. In this case two isotopes (atomic variants) of hydrogen, which give rise to helium. The LLNL facility is made up of nearly 200 lasers the size of three football fields, which aim at a tiny spot with high energy levels to start a fusion reaction.

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