Nuclear fusion ignition replicated

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Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California have successfully replicated nuclear fusion ignition multiple times this year, marking a significant step towards harnessing fusion energy, a potentially limitless source of clean power. This achievement follows the historic net energy gain from a fusion reaction that the team achieved for the first time in December 2022. The process involves firing nearly 200 lasers at a fuel capsule the size of a peppercorn, held within a cylinder. The lasers heat up the cylinder's outside, creating a series of very fast explosions that generate large amounts of energy, which is collected as heat. The resulting reaction replicates the natural processes found within the Sun, fusing two light atoms into a heavier one and releasing enormous amounts of energy. The first successful replication of the ignition occurred in July, followed by two more successful replications in October. The highest yield achieved to date was 3.88 megajoules of energy, which was produced from a little over 2 megajoules delivered to the target by the laser. The ability to replicate the process demonstrates its robustness and provides valuable information for scientists to address the next challenge: maximizing the energy that can be obtained. Despite these breakthroughs, the widespread use of nuclear fusion power remains years, if not decades, away. The focus now is on building on the progress made and figuring out how to dramatically scale up the process.
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