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Familiar with fusion?

“The fusion reaction at the US government facility produced about 2.5 megajoules of energy, which was about 120 percent of the 2.1 megajoules of energy in the lasers,…” – Ars Technica

Not familiar with fusion? Think nuclear power but the opposite of the fission folks are familiar with. Fission breaks atoms open. Fission shoves them together. Sunshine is from fusion. We’re trying to make sunshine, effectively, and this is one of the most hopeful signs that we’re done so.

In the US, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has finally created controllable fusion that produced more energy than it took to ignite it. Keep in mind, it took 2.1 megajoules (~0.58kwh) of energy to create it, but more (2.5 megajoules) came back out.

The good news, which is actually great news:

  • Fusion is cleaner, safer, and doesn’t require stuff like uranium. It can use special water, and we have oceans of water. Congratulations.

The not-so-good news:

  • These are preliminary results. Stay tuned.
  • Fusion isn’t completely pollution free, but it is small enough that it is much easier to handle.
  • They produced more power than it took to create, but it has to be sustainable.
  • They produced more power than it took to create, but it isn’t obvious how to turn that into electricity.
  • Fusion is basically creating a mini-sun and it can be hard to build machinery that can contain a sun for as long as power plants are expected to last, e.g. decades.

Worth celebrating, anyway.

One thought on “Fusion Power Milestone

  1. Pingback: Data That Matters December 2022 | Pretending Not To Panic

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