The US Department of Energy said yesterday, December 11, 2022, that it is preparing to announce “a major scientific breakthrough this week” in the field of nuclear fusion.
British daily Financial Times A few hours ago it was reported that scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) located in California had recently obtained a “net energy gain” from an experimental fusion reactor.
It’s the first time researchers have managed to produce more energy in a fusion reaction — like powering the sun — than they consumed in the process, a significant advance in the quest for carbon-free energy. .
Asked for comment on the FT article, spokespeople for the Department of Energy and LLNL told AFP that US Secretary of State for Energy Jennifer Granholm would host an event tomorrow, Tuesday December 13, 2022. Major Scientific Advances.”
An LLNL spokesperson said the “analysis is (still) ongoing.”
“We look forward to sharing more information on Tuesday once this process is complete,” he added.
The fusion reaction, which produced a net energy gain of 120%, occurred within the past two weeks, the FT reported, citing three people familiar with the preliminary results.
Nuclear fusion is considered the energy of tomorrow by its defenders, especially since it produces little waste and no greenhouse gases.
“This breakthrough… if true, could be a game changer for the planet,” tweeted California Congressman Ted Lew after the FT report was published.
Fusion differs from fission, a technique currently used in nuclear power plants, which involves breaking the bonds of heavy nuclei to recover energy.
Fusion is the reverse process: two light nuclei are “married” to form a heavier one. In this case the two isotopes (atomic variants) of hydrogen form helium.
The LLNL facility has nearly 200 lasers the size of three football fields that target a tiny spot of high energy to initiate a fusion reaction.