The achievement represents another step toward unlimited clean energy that could revolutionize the world. Often seen as the Holy Grail of power generation, nuclear fusion is the same process that produces energy in the Sun and works by fusing hydrogen nuclei together to create helium.Unlike nuclear fission which comes with the inherent risk of a meltdown, fusion is much cleaner and safer while the hydrogen fuel used by the process is so abundant that it is practically limitless.
While physicists have been attempting to build a working nuclear fusion reactor for the purpose of energy generation for over 60 years, success has always remained tantalizingly out of reach. This latest achievement, however, which comes courtesy of scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility in California, could be the real deal.
This is now the second time that the team has succeeded in producing a net energy gain using nuclear fusion, paving the way toward using the technology for large-scale energy generation.
To put things into perspective, a single kilogram of fusion fuel (made up of deuterium and tritium) can produce the same amount of energy as 10 million kilograms of regular fossil fuels.
It might be some time yet, however, before fusion is ready to replace conventional power plants.