US scientists achieve ‘holy grail’ nuclear fusion reaction: report

US scientists have reportedly conducted the first nuclear fusion experiment to achieve net energy gains, a major breakthrough in a field that has been chasing similar results since the 1950s, and in the quest for climate-friendly, renewable energy. is a possible step. Source replacing fossil fuels.

The experiment was conducted in recent weeks at the government-funded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, where researchers used a process known as inertial confinement fusion. Financial Times reports, citing three people with knowledge of the initial results of the experiment.

The test involved bombarding hydrogen plasma pellets with the world’s largest laser to trigger a nuclear fusion reaction, the same process that takes place in the Sun.

The researchers were able to generate 2.5 megajoules of energy, 120 percent of the 2.1 megajoules used to power the experiment.

Laboratory confirmed FT It recently conducted a “successful” experiment at the National Fire Prevention Center, but declined further comment, citing the preliminary nature of the data.

“Preliminary diagnostic data suggest another successful experiment at the National Ignition Facility. However, the exact yield is still being determined and we cannot confirm that it has exceeded the threshold at this time,” it said. “This analysis is in progress, so it would be inappropriate to release information . . . before that process is complete.”

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The scientific community thinks that a net-gain fusion reaction has been created, considering that US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and US Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Security Jill Hobby will To be announced by the National Laboratory on Tuesday.

Many commentators have celebrated the success of the reported fusion.

“Scientists have been trying to show that fusion can release more energy than it puts in since the 1950s, and researchers at Lawrence Livermore seem to have finally and completely smashed that decades-old goal, Arthur Turrell, Deputy Director of the UK Office. For national statistics, wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “This experimental result will finally accelerate efforts to power the planet with nuclear fusion – at a time when we’ve never needed more carbon-free energy sources!”

Oliver Cameron, CEO of self-driving company Cruise, predicted that with the news from Livermore, the world could be in for a future era of widespread nuclear fusion energy and massively artificial general intelligence (AGI).

“It’s becoming increasingly likely that we’ll end this decade with AGI and viable nuclear fusion.” wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

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In April, the White House announced a series of initiatives aimed at supporting the development of the fusion industry.

“Fusion is one of the largest suite of clean energy game changers that [are] match the scale that climate challenges require,” Alondra Nelson, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said. said In a statement at the time. “Now is the time for bold innovation to accelerate fusion energy.”

The Biden administration also helped secure $370 billion in subsidies for low-carbon energy development as part of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.

Researchers and environmentalists are divided about the green potential of nuclear fusion.

Proponents argue that fusion is safer than nuclear fission, the process that powers all existing nuclear power plants (and nuclear weapons). They say that if commercial reactors can achieve net energy gains on a regular basis, and are powered by renewable energy, fusion could be the energy source that finally frees the world from its dangerous dependence on fossil fuels.

“For my generation, it was the fear of weapons that influenced people’s views on nuclear. In this generation, it’s climate change,” said Todd Allen, a professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Michigan and the Zero Climate Center. The fastest way school manager, said independent Earlier this year. “I don’t know at the end if it’s the technology that catches fire or not. It’s just exciting to me because they’re the first demos of new ideas in half a century. I think there’s a lot of excitement and potential. .

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However, others argue that nuclear fusion, despite its high capital costs, has a long history, and given the waning time to avoid the worst of the climate crisis, the world cannot afford to develop one. Keep a slow pace.

“We’ve never been against any technology in principle, but it’s very clear, every time you start calculating, the moment you introduce nuclear, the costs go up and the speed of change slows down.” John Haverkamp, ​​a. said an energy expert at Greenpeace independent In January, “This is something we can’t afford now because climate change is becoming more and more real. If you start talking about nuclear at this moment, you’re either following a passion or you’re trying to Distract from what really needs to be done.

Yet, despite this debate, billions of dollars flow as private nuclear startups Terra Power backed by Bill GatesAnd also the efforts of the government viz ITERA 23,000-ton, $22 billion, 35-nation nuclear test is underway in France.



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