American scientists repeat the fusion ignition breakthrough for the second time

American scientists repeat the fusion ignition breakthrough for the second time

(Reuters) – US scientists reported a net energy gain in a fusion reaction for the second time since December, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory said on Sunday.

Scientists at the lab in California replicated the fusion ignition breakthrough in a trial at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) on July 30, a spokesman for Lawrence Livermore said, which produced higher energy yields than in December.

The spokesman added that the final results are still being analyzed.

Lawrence Livermore achieved a net increase in energy in a laser fusion experiment on December 5, 2022. Scientists focused a laser on a target of fuel to fuse two light atoms into a denser atom, releasing the energy.

The Energy Department said this experiment briefly achieved what is known as fusion ignition by generating 3.15 megajoules of energy output after the laser delivered 2.05 megajoules to the target.

In other words, it produced more energy from the fusion than the laser energy used to propel it, the department said.

The Department of Energy called it “a major scientific achievement in decades that will pave the way for advances in national defense and a clean energy future.”

Scientists have known for about a century that fusion powers the sun and have continued to develop fusion on Earth for decades. Such a breakthrough could one day help curb climate change if companies can bring the technology to a commercial level in the coming decades.

(Reporting by Lavanya Aher in Bengaluru and Doina Chiaco in Washington; Additional reporting by Jana Gore; Editing by Leslie Adler and Diane Craft)

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