US set to announce major fusion energy breakthrough

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US set to announce major fusion energy breakthrough

The US Department of Energy is set to reveal a “major scientific breakthrough” this week after scientists were reportedly able to produce a fusion reaction that created a net energy gain for the first time.

The development — a major milestone in the pursuit of limitless clean energy  — was made recently at the government-funded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, sources told the Washington Post.

The net gain reaction, which is considered to be a “holy grail” of zero-carbon power, is a major step towards being able to create a technology one day that could offer a clean and virtually limitless supply of energy.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is expected to announce the results of the fusion experiment at a media event on Tuesday.

This illustration provided by the National Ignition
The development — a major milestone in the pursuit of limitless clean energy  — was made recently at the government-funded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory/AP

A lab official said researchers were still finalizing their findings and nothing would be confirmed until the scheduled event.

The energy department also wouldn’t comment.

Scientists have been trying since the 1950s to replicate the same nuclear reaction that powers the sun as part of the global quest to offer clean energy and combat climate change.

But, until now, no researchers have been able to produce more energy from the fusion reaction than it consumes.

The US Department of Energy sign
The US Department of Energy is set to reveal the “major scientific breakthrough” this week.
AFP via Getty Images

“To most of us, this was only a matter of time,” one of the lab’s senior fusion scientists said of the successful experiment.

The science of nuclear fusion is based on pressing hydrogen atoms so close to each other that they combine into helium — and then release torrents of energy.

Despite the recent breakthrough, scientists believe fusion power stations are still at least a decade away from commercial use.

The Biden administration has prioritized fusion energy research projects and dedicated tens of billions of dollars through the Inflation Reduction Act.

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