US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm announced an American breakthrough in the field of nuclear fusion, after producing a reaction for the first time in history in a California laboratory for a reaction that generates more energy than is required to move it. “This is a landmark achievement for the researchers and staff at the National Ignition Facility who have dedicated their careers to seeing fusion ignition a reality, and this tipping point will unlock even more breakthroughs,” he said.
The United States has taken “the first steps towards a clean energy source that could revolutionize the world”: Jill Hruby, Undersecretary of the US Department of Nuclear Safety, commented on the success of the nuclear fusion experiment at the California laboratory. 192 high-energy lasers were used in the experiment.
Official tweet from the US State Department:
News flash: This is an ad that took decades to make.
On December 5, 2022, a team from the Department of Energy @tweet Making history by achieving fusion ignition.
This breakthrough will change the future of clean power and America’s national defense forever. pic.twitter.com/hFHWbmCNQJ
– US Department of Energy (ENERGY) December 13, 2022
USA, Contracts for the Commercial Use of Nuclear Fusion
It will take decades to get commercial use of the clean energy from nuclear fusion after the experiment in California. This was stated by Kim Podell, director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where the test took place. “There are many significant hurdles, not only scientifically but technologically,” he said. “This was once a capsule ignition process, but to get commercial fusion power you need a lot of things. You need to be able to produce many fusion ignition events per minute and you need a robust system of transport elements to make them.” He predicts. “With combined efforts and investment, and a few decades of research into the necessary technologies, we will be in a position to build a power plant.”
The nuclear fusion energy produced by the United States was obtained at the National Ignition Facility, which studies inertial confinement fusion using lasers. About 25 megajoules of energy were generated with a laser pulse of just over 20 megajoules. The nuclear fusion expert told ANSA Stefano Atzeni, from Sapienza University, Rome. “It is a controlled fusion experiment that differs from the one that uses magnetic confinement. The result is significant because for the first time a higher amount of energy was generated than was used to elicit the reaction,” he added.
In the experiment, the energy generated by 192 lasers in a few billionths of a second
It was created thanks to 192 laser beams in a few billionths of a second, energy produced in the United States, at the experimental facility of the California National Ignition Facility, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The experiment was carried out inside a vacuum chamber, that is, a container from which air is pumped, and the laser was directed at a perforated cylindrical container a few millimeters long, says Fabrizio Consoli, head of the ABC fusion laser for Enea.
The small cylinder, in turn, encloses a spherical capsule with a diameter of three or four millimeters, consisting of a shell containing two main elements for the nuclear fusion reaction: deuterium and tritium. Laser beams penetrate through the holes in the cylinder, impinge on the inside of the container, generate X-rays and, hitting the shell of the ball, remove it and turn it into a plasma, that is, into a gas of electrically charged particles. The plasma compresses deuterium and tritium to ideal pressure and temperature to launch the fusion reaction.
USA, nuclear fusion can revolutionize the world
Marv Adams, deputy director of defense programs at the National Nuclear Security Administration, described the experiment that marked the turning point in nuclear fusion. The director, holding a cylinder in his hand, explained that inside there was a small spherical capsule with a diameter equal to the radius of a basketball and that 192 laser beams entered from both ends of the cylinder to hit its inner wall and precipitate. energy. He stressed that this happened in less time than it took the rays to travel 10 feet (304 cm) at breakneck speed. X-rays from the wall hit the spherical capsule and fusion fuel was injected into the capsule, then the fusion reaction started. He specified that all of this had happened 100 times before. But last week, for the first time, this experiment was designed so that fusion fuel would stay hot enough, dense enough, and spin enough to ignite, producing more energy than the laser deposited, about two megajoules in about three megajoules out, up 1.5 . It took less time to generate power than it did to travel 1 inch (2.54 cm).
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