Fusion Reaction Produces More Energy Than That Absorbed By The Fuel Used To Trigger It

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Fusion Reaction Produces More Energy Than That Absorbed By The Fuel Used To Trigger It

A group of scientists has revealed at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics that for the first time in history, a fusion reaction has produced more energy than the fuel required to generate the reaction.


Nuclear fusion, or fusion power, is a hypothetical source of energy production in which two lighter atomic nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus, while releasing energy. The reactors creating fusion energy differ from traditional nuclear reactors that already create electrical power in that they would cause far less radiation and nuclear waste, potentially be safer, and could possibly provide energy more cheaply than at present, they would also do not produce greenhouse gases like coal burning. Until now, the energy required to produce nuclear fusion has always been greater than the energy produced by the fusion itself, meaning this breakthrough could have huge implications.


The experiment involved 192 high-powered laser beams being fired at a hohlraum fuel capsule made up of deuterium and tritium, which converts the laser beams into X-rays. These X-rays destroy the fuel capsule causing massive heat, similar to that seen inside a star, thus generating energy.


Kim Budil, director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which undertook the experimentation, said:


"This result is a historic step forward for inertial confinement fusion research, opening a fundamentally new regime for exploration and the advancement of our critical national security missions. It is also a testament to the innovation, ingenuity, commitment and grit of this team and the many researchers in this field over the decades who have steadfastly pursued this goal. For me, it demonstrates one of the most important roles of the national labs – our relentless commitment to tackling the biggest and most important scientific grand challenges and finding solutions where others might be dissuaded by the obstacles."


Speaking of the experiment, Johan Frenje of MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center, said that the experiment was a huge step towards achieving the goal of fusion power:


"Achieving ignition in a laboratory remains one of the scientific grand challenges of this era and this result is a momentous step forward towards achieving that goal. It also enables the exploration of a fundamentally new regime that is extremely difficult to access experimentally, furthering our understanding of the processes of fusion ignition and burn, which is critical for validating and enhancing our simulation tools in support of the stockpile stewardship. In addition, the result is historic as it represents the culmination of many decades of hard work, innovation and ingenuity, team work on a large scale, and relentless focus on the ultimate goal."


[Based on reporting: science alert]


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Thinking Humanity: Fusion Reaction Produces More Energy Than That Absorbed By The Fuel Used To Trigger It
Fusion Reaction Produces More Energy Than That Absorbed By The Fuel Used To Trigger It
A group of scientists has revealed at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics that for the first time in history, a fusion react
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