View Full Version : Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab

08-10-2013, 08:19 AM
The BBC understands that during an experiment in late September, the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel - the first time this had been achieved at any fusion facility in the world. . . .

. . . the latest achievement has been described as the single most meaningful step for fusion in recent years, and demonstrates NIF is well on its way towards the coveted target of ignition and self-sustaining fusion.


C. Flower
08-10-2013, 10:48 AM

That is pretty amazing news. People used to talk about fusion as being safe nuclear power. Not so sure about that now. But it would presumable require much smaller supplies of fuel.

This is a lazer shot from last May.


Sam Lord
08-10-2013, 11:04 AM
That is pretty amazing news. People used to talk about fusion as being safe nuclear power. Not so sure about that now. But it would presumable require much smaller supplies of fuel.

It is perfectly safe as far as I know. Why would you think otherwise.

I hope the yanks will be sharing the technology ... :)

08-10-2013, 11:30 AM
The oil companies are surely not ready for this yet, and will do whatever it takes to avoid it

Flogging oil is a very profitable business and purchasing legislators is an operating cost

08-10-2013, 04:28 PM
Here is a short video on fusion power

All The World’s A Mine

Watch the All The World’s A Mine video http://laroucheirishbrigade.com/2013/09/27/all-the-worlds-a-mine/

Part of a series of short videos illustrating the nuclear NAWAPA XXI, Gateway to the Fusion Economy.

Sam Lord
17-02-2014, 01:48 PM
Critical milestone reached again?:confused:

Does the NIF keep announcing this or is CBC just slow with news?


Count Bobulescu
17-02-2014, 08:25 PM
Don't think the NIF is being shy. Here's a report in Scientific American also dated Feb 12. Also some photos from the NIF I posted at the In Focus thread in January. It's a big technical breakthrough, but short on practical benefit for now.

A major milestone in fusion power! The National Ignition Facility uses $3.5 billion worth of lasers to heat a tiny capsule of fuel. For the first time, they got more energy out of the system than they put into it. But... (http://d1ej5r2t2cu524.cloudfront.net/intriguingthings/5-intriguing-things-64/864205-www.scientificamerican.com/article/high-powered-lasers-deliver-fusion-energy-breakthrough/?c=398a89a4-5313-48a2-81d9-35f71e5b9cd3)

"Employing 1.9 megajoules in slightly more than a nanosecond, the lasers deliver 500 terawatts of power inside the hohlraum (a terawatt is a trillion watts). A cloud of helium gas holds back the gold plasma that would otherwise intrude as the laser power is translated into x-rays by the hohlraum. These x-rays hit the plastic shell of the capsule, which absorbs roughly one tenth of the energy put into the lasers to begin with. That's enough energy to obliterate the outside shell and drive the fuel together "like a rocket," in the words of Hurricane, collapsing the sphere of fuel until it is one thirty-fifth its original size in almost no time at all, the equivalent of going from a sphere the size of a basketball to one the size of a pea almost instantly. The fuel absorbs roughly one tenth of the energy delivered by the x-rays onto the plastic capsule. That energy and implosion create a high pressure (150 gigabars) region of fusion (http://d1ej5r2t2cu524.cloudfront.net/intriguingthings/5-intriguing-things-64/864209-www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/forget-nuclear-fission-how-about-fu-09-01-29/?c=398a89a4-5313-48a2-81d9-35f71e5b9cd3) that is even smaller than the layer of fuel itself—a hotspot that is 60 microns in diameter and shaped, depending on the qualities of the shot, like a doughnut without a hole, or an apple...

It is here in the hotspot that the fuel reaches more than 50 million kelvins (about 50 million degrees C) and experiences 150 billion Earth-atmospheres worth of pressure. The fusion of deuterium and tritium (http://d1ej5r2t2cu524.cloudfront.net/intriguingthings/5-intriguing-things-64/864213-www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-radioactive-hydrogen-in-drinking-water-a-cancer-threat/?c=398a89a4-5313-48a2-81d9-35f71e5b9cd3) that results under those conditions produces helium and a spare neutron, and releases some 17,000 joules of energy in the process. [Ed: This is not a lot.]

In other words, these ferocious conditions almost three times denser than the center of the sun (http://d1ej5r2t2cu524.cloudfront.net/intriguingthings/5-intriguing-things-64/864217-www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-is-a-star-born/?c=398a89a4-5313-48a2-81d9-35f71e5b9cd3) release the same amount of energy embodied by a downhill skier going 58 kilometers per hour (by Hurricane's calculations). All told, only about 1 percent of the energy from the lasers ends up in the fuel, which then pumps out 17,000 joules’ worth of energy, or less than the energy needed to make the DT fuel in the first place. All of it lasts for 150 picoseconds, or 150 trillionths of a second, before the fusion zone blows itself apart. "

The National Ignition Facility (http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2014/01/the-national-ignition-facility/100659/)

Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate Choose: 1024px 1280px
http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/infocus/nif010914/s_n01_20918050.jpg (http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2014/01/the-national-ignition-facility/100659/) Inside the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a service system lift allows technicians to access the target chamber interior for inspection and maintenance. The goal of the NIF is to initiate controlled nuclear fusion, in the hopes of creating a new source of energy for our growing world. (Philip Saltonstall/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/infocus/i/lnk.jpg (http://cdn.theatlantic.com/static/infocus/nif010914/n01_20918050.jpg)

At Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a federally funded research and development center about 50 miles east of San Francisco, scientists at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) are trying to achieve self-sustaining nuclear fusion -- in other words, to create a miniature star on Earth. The core of the NIF is a house-sized spherical chamber aiming 192 massive lasers at a tiny target. One recent laser experiment focused nearly 2 megajoules (the energy consumed by 20,000 100-watt light bulbs in one second) of light energy onto a millimeter-sized sphere of deuterium and tritium in a 16-nanosecond pulse. The resulting energetic output, while far short of being a self-sustaining reaction, set a record for energy return, and has scientists hopeful as they fine-tune the targeting, material, and performance of the instruments. The facility itself bristles with machinery and instruments, impressing the producers of the movie Star Trek: Into Darkness, who used it as a film set for the warp core of the starship Enterprise. [24 photos (http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2014/01/the-national-ignition-facility/100659/)]

18-02-2014, 01:06 AM
The benefits of fusion for the FUTURE are immeasurable

22-11-2015, 02:12 PM
Lockheed Martin reckon they have cracked Fusion


The reactor would be small enough to fit in a truck and generate enough energy to light 80,000 homes, the Bethesda, Maryland-based company said today. The reactor would burn less than 20 kilograms of fuel in a year, producing waste that’s “orders of magnitudes less” than the ash and sludge spewed from coal plants.


Sam Lord
22-11-2015, 03:40 PM
Lockheed Martin reckon they have cracked Fusion

Sounds very positive but "cracked" might be overstating the case.

After completing several of these design-build-test cycles, the team anticipates being able to produce a prototype in five years. As they gain confidence and progress technically with each experiment, they will also be searching for partners to help further the technology.


Let's hope it's not just some spin to boost the share price.

What the energy might cost is, of course, another issue.

22-11-2015, 04:21 PM
Sounds very positive but "cracked" might be overstating the case.

I agree. This week in the non-commercial world of fusion research, the brilliant Prof Rob Goldston was honoured for having cracked a theoretical problem Lockheed will have to address in going to prototype
He is the former Director of the Plasma Fusion Laboratory at Princeton and was also one of the team to do the physics on the 'putting beyond use' of nuclear weapons that was a basis for the Iran deal recently. Voted a thought leader in Science, he is one of my science heroes :cool:


03-02-2016, 06:27 PM
Scientists in Germany Take a Major Step Towards Nuclear Fusion (http://gizmodo.com/scientists-in-germany-take-a-major-step-towards-nuclear-1756826763)

Physicists in Germany have used an experimental nuclear fusion device to produce hydrogen plasma in a process similar to what happens on the Sun. The test marks an important milestone on the road towards this super-futuristic source of cheap and clean nuclear energy.

Earlier today in an event attended by German Chancellor Angela Merkel (herself a PhD physicist), researchers from the Max Planck Institute in Greifswald turned on the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator, an experimental nuclear fusion reactor. (Actually, the researchers let Merkel do the honors.)

C. Flower
03-02-2016, 10:09 PM
Scientists in Germany Take a Major Step Towards Nuclear Fusion (http://gizmodo.com/scientists-in-germany-take-a-major-step-towards-nuclear-1756826763)

Well, well, well.

Is this hype, or as important as it sounds ?