US Government scientists lab have reportedly made a first-time discovery in harnessing the much sought-after fusion energy power source. The future of a near-limitedness, safe, clean source of energy is soon to be unlocked by humans. On Tuesday this week, the U.S. Department of Energy is expected to make an official announcement of the results of this nuclear fusion research.

Lawrence Livermore announces significant step in the construction of a next-generation ultra-high power laser system | Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Credit: Lawrence Livermore US

Nuclear fusion is considered to be a potential energy of the future, particularly as it produces little waste and no greenhouse gases. In detail, nuclear fusion involves smashing together light elements such as hydrogen to form heavier elements. This releases a huge burst of energy in the process.

A Low-Carbon Energy Source

The approach, gives rise to the heat and light of the sun and other stars. It is being hailed as having huge potential as a sustainable, low-carbon energy source.

nuclear energy: Breakthrough in nuclear fusion energy creation - The Economic Times
Credit: The Economic Times

If we successfully demonstrate a positive energy gain from the reaction, it may become possible to provide a reliable, abundant alternative to fossil fuels and conventional nuclear energy.

However, since the first nuclear fusion research began in the 1950s, researchers have been unable to produce more energy in a fusion reaction.

A Game Changer?

According to The Financial Times, for the first time ever, US scientists at the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California successfully produced a nuclear fusion reaction resulting in a net energy gain.

It is believed that researchers have managed to release 2.5MJ of energy after using just 2.1MJ to heat the fuel with lasers. That means it could now represent a groundbreaking movement in humankind’s move away from fossil fuels like oil and coal to completely clean energy source that do not pollute air or scar landscape with mining or pipelines.

Is This a New Century of Clean Energy?

The National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory pictured , above. The system uses 192 laser beams converging at the center of this giant sphere to make a tiny hydrogen fuel pellet implode
Credit: Associated Press Photo

The information on the test results is not yet confirmed. And many scientists believe that fusion power is still decades away. But the technology’s potential and the scientist’s efforts are hard to ignore.

In detail, fusion reactions emit no carbon and produce no long-live radioactive waste and a small cup of the hydrogen fuel could theoretically power a house for hundreds of years.

“If this fusion energy breakthrough is true, it could be a game changer for the world,” tweeted Ted Lieu, a member of Congress from California.

If this is confirmed, we are witnessing a moment of history,’

says Dr Arthur Turrell, a plasma physicist, to the Financial Times.

Meanwhile, through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Joe Biden administration is ploughing almost $370bn into new subsidies. This is for low-carbon energy; in an effort to slash emissions and win a global race for next-generation clean tech.

What Next?

The result may become a breakthrough for the energy industry. However, it’s still a long way to producing a viable technology. Eventually, it can help wean the world off fossil fuels and reduce climate change.

Meanwhile, the LLNL spokesperson adds that

“Their analysis is still going…We look forward to sharing more when that process is complete”

Besides, The Energy Department previously said Secretary Jennifer Granholm planned to announce a “major scientific breakthrough” at the national laboratory by researchers with the agency’s National Nuclear Security Administration on Tuesday.

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