March 22, 2012

National Ignition Facility Gets One Step Closer To 'Fusion Burn'

Jeff Blagdon, writing for The Verge:

“The NIF’s goal with these experiments is called inertial confinement fusion (ICF) — a type of fusion reaction created by heating and compressing a small piece of solid fuel, in this case a frozen pellet of a hydrogen isotope (a different kind of experiment than those the SLAC lasers are being used for). If done successfully, the fuel will “ignite,” causing a fusion chain reaction that produces more energy than is added by the laser.”

Fusion-based nuclear energy stands a good chance of supplanting fossil fuels for domestic energy production, if scientists can figure out how to ignite hydrogen fuel. With this successful experiment, we're one step closer.