Breakthrough in nuclear fusion raises hopes for unlimited clean energy source

The US Department of Energy announced a major breakthrough in nuclear fusion technology on Tuesday. Scientists at the California-based Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) successfully generated a “net energy gain” using nuclear fusion in a lab for the first time. “This is a landmark achievement for the researchers and staff at the National Ignition Facility who have dedicated their careers to seeing fusion ignition become a reality, and this milestone will undoubtedly spark even more discovery,” said US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. For decades, scientists have pumped more energy into experimental fusion reactors than the total new energy created in the process. This setback has made nuclear fission — not fusion — the default preference in the pursuit of limitless, zero-carbon power, despite its health and safety risks. On December 5, 2022, NIF scientists conducted the first controlled fusion experiment in history in which more energy was produced from fusion than the laser energy used to drive it.