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Scientists have reproduced last year’s nuclear fusion breakthrough

Scientists at a federally funded research center in the US have successfully conducted a second nuclear fusion reaction experiment that resulted in a net energy gain. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) said scientists at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) generated a higher energy yield than in their December breakthrough, as Reuters reports.

The nuclear fusion approach is very similar to the process that results in stars being able to emit light and heat. The scientists used a laser aimed at fuel to combine two light atoms into a denser one. This releases a great deal of energy. The process is said to have a lot of potential as a source of sustainable, low-carbon energy that could help combat climate change.

In the initial experiment in December, the laser delivered 2.05 megajoules to the target. The scientists achieved fusion ignition by generating 3.15 megajoules of energy output. That’s a net yield of around 1.1 megajoules, which is equivalent to 0.31kWh — enough energy to power a 50-watt LED TV for six hours.

It’s not yet clear exactly how much of a net energy yield was obtained from the latest successful experiment, which was carried out on July 30th. An LLNL spokesperson told Reuters that researchers are still analyzing the final results.

There’s quite some way to go until fusion ignition becomes a viable option for mainstream energy production with the capability of powering homes. For one thing, scientists will have to scale up the system substantially. In any case, showing that it was possible to repeat the experiment and surpass the previous results is a positive step forward for clean energy.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/scientists-have-reproduced-last-years-nuclear-fusion-breakthrough-200611282.html?src=rss

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