Updated on 12/13/2022 at 16:12
- For the first time, US researchers generated more energy in nuclear fusion than was used for the process.
- The scientific sensation could be an important step towards a new source of clean energy.
- But until that happens, there are still some hurdles to clear.
scientists in the USA A historic breakthrough has been achieved in the field of nuclear fusion. For the first time, the fusion of atomic nuclei produced more energy than was consumed, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said on Tuesday. Washington Announced. “Simply put, this is one of the most impressive scientific achievements of the 21st century.”
The results, obtained by a team of state National Ignition Facility (NIF) researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, mark a milestone on the path to unlocking a new energy source. Within a few years, nuclear fusion could possibly be used to generate vast amounts of electricity in a safe and climate-neutral way.
However, there is still a long way to go before mass production due to continuing major technical hurdles.
Nuclear fusion is considered clean and safe
Nearly a year ago, breakthroughs in nuclear fusion were announced at the institute. A research team reported in the journal “Nature” earlier this year that ignition of the plasma was achieved.
Ultimately, this results in the fusion reaction becoming self-sustaining. In the nuclear fusion reactor, the fuel is in the form of plasma; this state of aggregation is created when a gas gets very hot.
Both nuclear power and nuclear fusion derive energy from the binding forces of atomic nuclei. However, with nuclear power, large atoms are broken, radioactive waste is produced, among other things, and there is a risk of serious accidents.
In nuclear fusion, on the other hand, small atomic nuclei are merged -fused- into larger ones, the technology is considered clean and safe. This form of power generation is similar to what happens in stars like the sun.
For their experiments, the California researchers used the world’s most powerful laser system to convert small amounts of heavy and super-heavy hydrogen (deuterium and tritium) into plasma at a temperature of around one million degrees. Many laser beams heat the inside of a container a few millimeters in size. (dpa/thp)
Scientists in the US have achieved nuclear fusion for the first time to get more energy than they use. The technology is considered clean and safe.
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