The Department of Energy formally confirmed reports this morning that scientists have successfully created a fusion reaction in a laboratory—but the extent of its viability is not fully known.
- Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced a major breakthrough in nuclear-fusion technology at a Tuesday press conference in Washington, D.C.—calling it “one of the most impressive scientific feats of the 21st century.”
- Granholm formally announced that last week scientists at the National Ignition Facility had created energy using a fusion reaction for the first time in a laboratory.
- “This milestone moves us one significant step closer to the possibility of zero carbon abundance fusion energy powering our society,” she says.
- The Financial Times broke the story on Sunday that Department of Energy scientists had successfully achieved a nuclear fusion reaction that produced net energy gain.
Why it’s Important
As we reported yesterday, nuclear fusion technology could prove to be a breakthrough for cleaner forms of energy. The technology is only just in its infancy but advocates believe the technology will eventually scale up and create limitless clean energy in the coming decades.
Governments and private companies have invested billions of dollars into nuclear-fusion research and this is the first experiment that created an increase in energy output.
“This is a landmark achievement for the researchers and staff at the National Ignition Facility who have dedicated their careers to seeing fusion ignition become a reality, and this milestone will undoubtedly spark even more discovery. [This] will go down in the history books,″ says Secretary Granholm.
“For more than half a century, people have poured billions of dollars into nuclear-fusion research, hoping to create a source of abundant, clean energy. The rough idea is this, if we develop technology that can replicate the way the sun generates energy in a controlled way, we could power the world with energy that’s free of greenhouse gas emissions and long-lived radioactive waste,” says The Verge.