On Tuesday, December 13, the US is due to announce a breakthrough in fusion power that could change
What is known
Thermonuclear fusion could be a replacementcarbon fuels and nuclear power plants. Since the middle of the last century, scientists have been trying to use it to generate energy. However, all this time they managed, at best, only to compensate for the energy that was spent on starting the reaction. And now, it seems, American scientists have done what their predecessors failed to do for decades.
The discovery, about which the Department of EnergyThe United States will officially announce tomorrow, capable of providing humanity with a virtually inexhaustible source of energy. In theory. According to the Financial Times, scientists at the Livermore National Laboratory in the United States were able to obtain more energy from fusion than was used to start the reaction.
The authors of the experiment, which lasted fortwo weeks, they used the world's largest laser to irradiate hydrogen plasma. 2.1 MJ of energy was spent to start the reaction. As a result of thermonuclear fusion, 2.5 MJ of energy was generated, i.e. the net gain was 0.4 MJ.
Two experts confirmed that the energy outputreally was more than they expected. At the same time, the scientists agreed to comment solely on condition of anonymity, since the data obtained during the experiment have not yet been fully verified.
The fusion reaction was run in the complexNational Ignition Facility (NIF), which is owned by the Livermore National Laboratory in the United States. $3.5 billion was invested in the creation of this scientific facility. At first, it was mainly used to simulate military nuclear explosions. Over time, NIF began to conduct experiments on thermonuclear fusion. During one of these last year, scientists were able to generate 70% of the energy that lasers needed.
One of the American officials called thistechnology is a "holy grail" that can lift more people out of poverty than opening fire. At the same time, scientists note that the appearance of the first thermonuclear power plants should not be expected in the coming decades.