Scientists make massive breakthrough in nuclear fusion as 'ignition' is finally achieved


Scientists managed to start the same chemical process that powers the Sun on August 8, 2021, by putting more electricity into a tiny gold capsule than the entire US electric system could handle.

It is extremely astonishing how the power of 192 laser beams sparked the same thermonuclear fire that fuels the Sun for a nanosecond.

The Sun produces energy by hurling hydrogen atoms together, generating helium in the process. We are now closer than ever to being able to harness chemical reactions with enough force to power the Sun. This is possible because fusion power technology has advanced.

It's also crucial to remember that the fusion process discovered by scientists was self-perpetuating, which means it continued once it started.

Nuclear fusion is the process by which two lighter atoms combine to form a heavier atom and release a massive quantity of energy. It is highly difficult to replicate the process in a lab setting, despite the fact that it happens regularly in nature. This is mostly because a very high energy environment is needed to ensure the reaction proceeds.

The experiment, conducted by the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, is described in three newly published papers—one in Physical Review Letters and two in Physical Review E.

A practical fusion reactor is still a long way off, despite the publications' claims that scientists have achieved "ignition," which suggests that nuclear fusion may be possible.

Fusion power plants would produce a significant quantity of energy using fuel made of hydrogen from water if researchers were to successfully construct fully operational fusion power plants.

There would be no radiation risk as a result, and the only waste product would be helium.

Modern nuclear power plants, in contrast, use nuclear fission to create energy by separating the nuclei of heavy elements like uranium.

More over a quadrillion watts of power were used in the experiment from the previous year, a huge amount of energy that was only momentarily released.

The pioneering experiment, according to Omar Hurricane, the program's lead scientist for inertial confinement fusion at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: "The record shot represented a tremendous scientific achievement in fusion research, establishing that fusion ignition in the lab is feasible at NIF."

"Achieving the ignition conditions has been a long-term goal for all inertial confinement fusion research," the author stated, "and allows entry to a new experimental domain where alpha-particle self-heating outweighs all cooling mechanisms in the fusion plasma."

Reference:  Physical Review Letters and two in Physical Review E

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