Laser fusion experiment yields record energy at Lawrence Livermore’s National Ignition Facility.
NEWS FLASH: Nuclear fusion tests are now net energy positive.
LLNL has been working on this since 2010. In early 2012, they did experiments where “yield [was] a factor of ∼3–10× below the simulated values”. But about a month ago, they fixed the problem that was causing their tests to underperform. So now they’re getting positive energy yields on fusion reactions (Q > 1). This is a pretty important, fundamental breakthrough in science and engineering. We’re not going to immediately get abundant nuclear fusion power out of this in the next few years, but it’s certainly a step along the path that had to happen before we could get there. Prior to this, the only energy positive fusion reactions ever engineered on earth were dirty, uncontrolled, weaponized explosions in H-bombs that were triggered by nuclear fission implosions.
But no one noticed back in August 2013 when LLNL quietly posted a press release about the breakthrough on their website. There could be pressure to bury the lead here. The NIF was technically no longer supposed to be running this project after their funding ran out. In fact, probably because of this, their press release announcing the results is tortuously arranged to mask this breakthrough as some sort of valuable asset to nuclear weapons testing… because that work is the only funding priority that house republicans would agree to fund at LLNL.
At the moment, Google can only find 9 pages on the internet that link to the press release and wikipedia’s info is still out of date — noting only what was true in 2012 — that no net energy yields in fusion energy research have ever been achieved.
I’m not complaining about wikipedia here. I just want you to realize how new and special this information is. It’s not in the news and is very well hidden in public view. So you’re currently one of a very few people in the world who knows that net positive fusion energy reactions are now something science knows how to do.
See on www.llnl.gov