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Fusion Power Breakthrough?

Physicists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California announced on Tuesday that they had blasted a small cylinder about the size of a pencil eraser that contained a frozen nubbin of hydrogen encased in diamond. The result - 3 mega joules of energy streamed out, compared to 2 mega joules poured in.

That sparked public excitement as scientists have for decades talked about how fusion, the nuclear reaction that makes stars shine, could provide a future source of bountiful energy.

The result announced on Tuesday is the first fusion reaction in a laboratory setting that actually produced more energy than it took to start the reaction.

“This is such a wonderful example of a possibility realized, a scientific milestone achieved, and a road ahead to the possibilities for clean energy,” Arati Prabhakar, the White House science adviser, said during a news conference on Tuesday morning at the Department of Energy’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. “And even deeper understanding of the scientific principles that are applied here.”

(Via NYTimes)

As far as I know, the first reference to the phrase "fusion power" in science fiction occurred in the 1956 story The Judas Valley by Gerald Vance.

“Naturally,” the general continued, “we don’t want any of this information to leak out, just in case it should prove false. The prospect of enough D-N beryllium to make fusion power really cheap could cause a panic if we didn’t handle it properly...


('The Judas Valley' by Gerald Vance)


(Read more about fusion power)

Physicists like Hans Bethe described how it might work in the 1930's; the first fusion powered weapon was made in 1952.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/15/2022)

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