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Inertial Confinement Fusion Gives Net Energy Gain

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U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and under-secretary for nuclear security Jill Hruby are due to announce a major scientific breakthrough in nuclear fusion after 50 years of research.

For the first time, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Ignition Faciity have been able to produce more energy from a fusion reaction than is required to power it — the milestone known as net energy gain. If confirmed, the experimental results are expected to show that with a 2.1 megajoule burst from 192 lasers, the inertial confinement reactor produced an output of 2.5 megajoules, a 20% gain.

Nuclear fusion is the Holy Grail of clean energy, with an inexhaustible fuel supply, producing no greenhouse gases or radioactive waste.