Why would nuclear fusion be a scientific breakthrough?

José López Zamorano | La Red Hispana 
Photo Credit: Pixabay

One of the great dreams of humanity, especially of defenders of environmental conservation, has been the possibility of using nuclear power to generate clean energy indefinitely.

The good news is that the US Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced the achievement of fusion ignition at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

Both institutions are right when they say that this is a major scientific breakthrough that has been decades in the making and will pave the way for advances in defense and the future of clean energy.

A team from LLNL’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) conducted the first controlled fusion experiment in history to reach this milestone, also known as the scientific energy equilibrium point, meaning it produced more fusion energy than the energy laser used to drive it.

As the DOE explains, fusion is the process by which two light nuclei combine to form a single heavier nucleus, releasing a large amount of energy.

“This monumental scientific breakthrough is a milestone for the future of clean energy,” California Senator Alex Padilla told CNN, adding, “While there is more work ahead to harness the potential of fusion power, I am proud that California scientists continue to lead the way in the development of clean energy technologies.”

The reality is that this discovery in the laboratory cannot be used immediately for the purpose of commercial electricity generation.

Several scientific teams in other countries around the world seek precisely to apply this type of nuclear fission technology to materialize projects for the practical use of this energy, but there is still a long way to go, and it is an arduous and complex scientific task.

But the announcement made by the United States Department of Energy confirms that there is a clean route for the generation of clean energy and that the investments made over the years have begun to bear fruit, so it is necessary to continue providing these projects with resources to accelerate the arrival of practical applications.

Beyond political considerations, the search for clean energy should be a state policy in all countries of the world. Unlike other races, such as the arms race, the race to replace fossil fuels with clean energy represents the historic possibility of a sustainable future.