WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists announced Tuesday that they have for the first time produced more energy in a fusion reaction than was used to ignite it — 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. Known as a net energy gain, the goal has been elusive because fusion happens at such high temperatures and pressures that it is incredibly difficult to control.
The result, announced today by officials at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), represents a shot in the arm for fusion researchers, who have long been criticized for overpromising and underdelivering. Fusion holds the tantalizing promise of plentiful, carbon-free energy, without many of the radioactive headaches of fission-driven nuclear power. But getting hydrogen ions to fuse into helium and release energy requires temperatures of millions of degrees Celsius—conditions that are hard to achieve and sustain. The NIF result shows it is possible, at least for a fraction of a second. “Three MJ is a hell of a lot of energy. It shows something is working,” says plasma physicist Steven Rose of Imperial College London.
Despite the fanfare, fusion power stations are still a distant dream. NIF was never designed to produce power commercially. Its primary function is to create miniature thermonuclear explosions and provide data to ensure the U.S. arsenal of nuclear weapons is safe and reliable. Many researchers believe furnacelike tokamaks are a better design for commercial power because they can sustain longer fusion “burns.” In a tokamak, microwaves and particle beams heat the fuel and magnetic fields trap it. “The challenge is to make it robust and simple,” White says.
However, the leading tokamak device, the ITER reactor under construction in France, is anything but simple. It is vastly over budget, long overdue, and will not reach breakeven until the late 2030s at the earliest. With NIF’s new success, proponents of such laser-based “inertial fusion energy” will be pushing for funding to see whether they can compete with the tokamaks.
Paul Plante says
So, to get all that energy to make the fusion process happen, where does that energy have to come from?
Burning fossil fuels?
Windmills, which incidentally turn off at wind speeds over 55 mph and are affected by blade icing?
Solar panels, the output of which goes to zip after dark?
Gerbils running like hell on a wheel hooked to a generator?
J Wheaton says
Obviously, you don’t understand the significance of the first sentence “Scientists announced Tuesday that they have for the first time produced more energy in a fusion reaction than was used to ignite it …”
Editor’s Note: Shut up.
Paul Plante says
J Wheaton, in these seriously troubled times we now find ourselves immersed in here in the United States of America, you can always be counted on the come on the scene and provide us with some mirth to lighten the mood of the moment which is good for our immune systems and will help us as a nation and as a people to thoroughly defeat COVID for once and for all, as was the case right above here, and seriously J Wheaton, your reading comprehension remains as lousy as ever, and I think that is because you TWEET too much, which rots the brain.
IF your reading comprehension had been better, and your stamina, you would have been able to get past the first sentence where you would have come across this:
Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California achieved the result last week, the Energy Department said.
Known as a net energy gain, the goal has been elusive because fusion happens at such high temperatures and pressures that it is incredibly difficult to control.
How, J Wheaton, does one achieve high pressures and temperatures?
Don’t both require a large amount of RELIABLE energy input?
What I was asking is where is that energy going to come from in Joe Biden’s NEW GREEN AMERICA?
A legitimate question, I thought, and J Wheaton, I am sorry you couldn’t understand that.
The first law of thermodynamics, J Wheaton, is you can’t get something for nothing, and the second law is that you can’t break even.
You never get out more than you put in.
That is a perpetual motion machine, J Wheaton.
They don’t exist.
Which takes us to this:
NIF was never designed to produce power commercially.
Its primary function is to create miniature thermonuclear explosions and provide data to ensure the U.S. arsenal of nuclear weapons is safe and reliable.
Blue Hoss says
You are a real mental midget…I bet you rode the Short Bus to school with a crash helmet on.
Paul Plante says
Every degree of complexity added to any physical system serves to make the system more and more unreliable.
There was a time when engineers were trained to realize that fact.
SIMPLE WORKS BEST!
But that was yesterday, and yesterday is gone and so is that kind of thinking.
And what do we have today as a result?
Look at California for a good example where water is running out and they can’t keep the lights on because they have created for themselves an increasingly unreliable power grid that Joe Biden wants to transplant in the other 49 states that aren’t California, as if the experiment might possibly work somewhere else, as opposed to propelling us back to a more primitive era in America when things were simple because people had no other choice, and so they worked.
J Wheaton says
We should all thank the gods Paul was busy on that day in 1903, the 17th of December when the brothers’ Wright fantastic flight was captured in a photograph. No doubt if Paul was present he would have been quoted saying “Pffff, what good is that, it only went 200 feet and ten feet high. You can get further on a horse”
Paul usually can’t see the wood for the trees
Paul Plante says
And people, in all seriousness here, because like everything else in here, this is also a serious subject, not a frivolous subject like one would find in the Washington Post, we all should all thank the gods that our very own in-house comedian J Wheaton, who incidentally is just back from a well-received gig out in Las Vegas as a stand-up comic, was not too busy in Las Vegas to come here and regale us all with more “J WHEATON’S TALL TALES ABOUT PAUL PLANTE,” where in this week’s episode, J Wheaton has Paul Plante hanging out and lounging around while sucking a tooth in Kittyhawk, North Carolina on that now-famous day in 1903, the 17th of December, it was, or is in J Wheaton’s version of reality based on his theory of transposition of epochs which he has meticulously derived philosophically from his other truly fascinating theory about transmigration of souls when the brothers’ Wright fantastic flight was captured in a photograph, and in J Wheaton’s version of reality, which has either transposed the epoch Plante was in with the epoch of the Wright Brothers, or transmigrated the soul of Plante back to the time of the Wright Brothers, itself a fascinating proposition put forth for us to consider by J Wheaton, he has Paul not only present, but sneering at the Wright Brothers and talking smack about them to all the TV cameras present, being quoted on camera as saying “Pffff, what good is that, it only went 200 feet and ten feet high. You can get further on a horse,” that being from Paul, who in J Wheaton’s version of reality, usually can’t see the wood for the trees!
Some powerful lines, people, befitting powerful drama!
So, please, everybody in our at-home viewing audience, let’s get those hands together for our very own J Wheaton, and give him a standing ovation for going out of his way to lighten up the mood in here with some J WHEATON THEATER OF THE ABSURD!
Paul Plante says
The Wright Brothers should be thankful it wasn’t a Boeing 737Max they were trying to fly!
Uncle Sam says
But, he is a Veteran, what have you done?
An alleged scientific discovery has no merit unless it can be explained to a barmaid.
As quoted in Einstein: The Man and His Achievement (1973) by G. J. Whitrow, p. 42
Paul Plante says
I wonder how our very own J Wheaton feels about car fires after an accident caused by an ill-thought-out degree of complexity added to a physical system known as an EV, or BIDENMOBILE, which serves to make the BIDENMOBILE more and more unreliable, especially in a crash where the front seatbelt pretensioner exhaust gases of the BIDENMOBILE come in contact with floor carpeting fibers, after a vehicle crash, which could cause a fire, and here I can see our very own J Wheaton screw-facing me and giving me the stink-eye while he sucks on a tooth, and says “Pffff, what’s the big deal, only some of them catch fire,” to which I reply, “if it makes you happy, go with it, and Joe Biden will give you a big tax credit if you do buy a BIDENMOBILE, which makes it worth taking a chance, I suppose,” to wit:
“GM recalls 140,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs over fire risks”
December 21, 2022
WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) – General Motors Co said Tuesday it is recalling 140,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs in North America because the carpet could catch fire after a crash where a front seat belt pretensioner deploys.
The U.S. automaker said the recall covers various 2017 through 2023 model year Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicles due to rare instances of front seatbelt pretensioner exhaust gases coming in contact with floor carpeting fibers, after a vehicle crash, which could cause a fire.
About 120,000 U.S. vehicles and 20,000 Canadian vehicles are impacted by the recall.