However, scientists had not been able to make any fusion reaction to require less energy than it generates, until now. Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the United States have finally broken the code, with their reaction creating more energy than the fuel consumed to make it.
Fusion processes bring atoms together rather than dividing them, merging hydrogen atoms to create helium while producing enormous quantities of energy. While this laboratory is still a long way from being a commercial reactor, it is a significant step forward on the road to carbon zero.
A tiny glob of plasma is bombarded with light from 192 lasers inside the laboratory’s $3.5 billion National Ignition Facility, which was originally designed to test nuclear weapons by mimicking explosions. “These extraordinary results from NIF (National Ignition Facility) advance the science that NNSA (National Nuclear Safety Administration) depends on to modernise our nuclear weapons and production,” said Jill Hruby, the US Under Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Security.