by Brittany Raymer
Digital Writer & Editor
It seems like the future of clear energy is here, as advancements have been made to harness a nuclear fusion reaction to a net energy gain at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory National Ignition Facility in California. This historic achievement will likely change the course of energy production.
When scientists at the Manhattan Project were creating the atomic bomb, the resulting nuclear fission reaction created what many consider the most dangerous weapons ever made. But now, some of that same technology has been used instead to produce a reaction and energy that could fuel the U.S. and the world for generations to come.
Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s officially announced on Tuesday, though the information leaked on Monday, that they had successfully completed a nuclear fission reaction with a net energy gain. That means that more energy was produced than was used to create the reaction in the first place.
Believe it or not, this is a boon to the clean, green energy movement, which has been mostly reliant on cantankerous wind turbines and solar panels. If this technology could be harness and deployed on a mass scale, it would change the game completely.
“If we could get this scale, this will be an amazing endeavor of … achieving the goal of zero-carbon emission power,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm.
In both the public and private sectors, there is an enormous interest in harnessing this power.
“We have a goal of getting to net-zero energy by 2050, so that would be within that time frame. But now that this breakthrough has happened, the scientists can go to work on improving the process,” she said.
According to NPR, “On Dec. 5. At 1 AM local time, researchers used laser beams to zap a tiny pellet of hydrogen fuel. The lasers produced 2.05 megajoules of energy, and the pellet released roughly 3.15 megajoules.”
That’s a net gain of about 150%.
This breakthrough has been decades in the making, but there’s still a long way to go.
Though the process would result in little nuclear waste, unlike the fission reactors we have now, and the material is readily available, figuring out how to mass produce the process and get it into energy plants probably won’t be possible until the 2060s or 2070s.
That won’t necessarily work for the Biden administration, which has an unrealistic goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. Therefore, the American economy might still be suffering in order to make the unrealistic dreams of climate change activists a reality.
But the announcement is a step in the right direction. The world needs reliable energy that’s safe and takes up little real estate, unlike the gigantic wind turbines that will soon dot North Carolina’s shores if Gov. Cooper gets his way.