WASHINGTON: In what is potentially the greatest breakthrough in chronicles of scientific progress and a turning point in human history, researchers in America are believed to have cracked a nuclear fusion milestone, producing more energy out of controlled reaction than they put it.
Often dubbed the Holy Grail of nuclear science, the development, akin to imitating reactions on the sun, could lead to a cornucopia of endless cheap, clean, and carbon-free energy, and change the fundamentals of the world. Caution: it won’t happen overnight or even in weeks or months, and bringing it to commercial use could take years, even decades.
Still, the scientific community exulted over what could be a game-changer that occurred at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California and is expected to be announced by the US Energy Secretary on Tuesday.
Nuclear fusion is brought about by fusing two hydrogen atoms to create helium, releasing a large amount of energy in the process, similar to how the sun generates heat and light. According to the Financial Times, which first reported the story, scientists at LLNL used 2.1 megajoules of energy to create the conditions for the reaction, generating 2.5 megajoules.
“If this is confirmed, we are witnessing history. Scientists have struggled to show that fusion can release more energy than is put in since the 1950s, and the researchers at Lawrence Livermore seem to have finally and absolutely smashed this decades-old goal,” tweeted Dr Arthur Turrell, a scientist and author of fusion book “The Star Builders.”
Here’s how he put it in two tweets: “First, what is nuclear fusion? It’s a reaction that literally creates new atoms from old: lighter nuclei (say types of hydrogen) are smashed together to make heavier nuclei—and LOTS of energy. And the energy comes from an equation you already know! (Yes the one by Einstein).
You should care about fusion: apart from being the reaction that makes the Universe light up (powering stars) and the reaction that created most of the elements we’re made of, fusion promises clean, safe, low radioactivity energy for everyone—and wow do we need more clean energy
Romantics and Pollyannas were already doing the numbers and scenarios, including faster trips beyond the Solar System and bountiful energy that would change the global energy landscape. From the pessimists: Not in our lifetime, alas.

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