US lab hits fusion milestone raising hopes for clean power

The US Department of Energy said scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California reported on December 5 that they had obtained pure energy in a laser fusion experiment.

The scientists focused the laser on the fuel target to fuse the two atoms into a single dense atom, releasing the energy.

Lawrence Livermore director Kimberly Bodell told reporters at the DOE event that science and technology hurdles mean commercialisation probably won't be five or six decades away.

Scientists have known for about a century that fusion powers the Sun and have been producing fusion on Earth for decades.

 After producing 3.15 megajoules of energy output, the laser delivered 2.05 megajoules to the target.

The experiment briefly achieved what is known as fusion ignition, the Energy Department said

Arti Prabhakar, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, who heard about the merger at Livermore when she worked as a teenager in 1978.

"This is one ignition capsule [of fuel] at a time," Badil said of the experiment. "To get commercial fusion energy, you have to be able to produce several fusion ignition events per minute."

Focused Energy is one of dozens of companies commercialise fusion energy that have raised nearly $5 billion in private and public funding since June of this year, according to the Fusion Industry Association. Including $2.8 billion over the next 12 months

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