Fusion milestone for clean energy that could revolutionise world: 6 points
Breakthrough In Fusion Technology: US president Joe Biden called the breakthrough a good example of the need to continue to invest in research and development.
Scientists announced that they have for the first time produced more energy in a fusion reaction than was used to ignite it, marking a major breakthrough in the decades-long quest to harness the process that powers the sun. Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California achieved the result last week, the Energy Department said. The breakthrough will pave the way for advancements in national defense and the future of clean power.
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Here are 6 points on this story:
1. Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm said, “Ignition allows us to replicate for the first time certain conditions that are found only in the stars and the sun,'' adding, “This milestone moves us one significant step closer” to having zero-carbon fusion energy “powering our society.”
2. White House science adviser Arati Prabhakar called the fusion ignition “a tremendous example of what perseverance really can achieve" and "an engineering marvel beyond belief.''
3. Proponents of fusion hope it could one day displace fossil fuels and other traditional energy sources although producing carbon-free energy that powers homes and businesses from fusion is still decades away. But the announcement marks a significant leap forward.
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4. Kim Budil, director of the Livermore Lab, said there are “very significant hurdles” to commercial use of fusion technology, but advances in recent years mean the technology is likely to be widely used in “a few decades”.
5. Fusion works by pressing hydrogen atoms into each other with such force that they combine into helium, releasing enormous amounts of energy and heat. Unlike other nuclear reactions, it doesn't create radioactive waste.
6. US president Joe Biden called the breakthrough a good example of the need to continue to invest in research and development. “Look what’s going on from the Department of Energy on the nuclear front. There’s a lot of good news on the horizon,” Joe Biden said.