fusion stories

 
The National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California is home to the most powerful laser on the planet. It was intended to be developed into humanity's first break-even fusion generator, but it hasn't happened yet, and the new plan is to slow down the pace of fusion research. Again.
 
We know, the fact that the largest and most powerful laser in the world is now being used for weapons research might not, at first glance, sound like a bad thing. But it is, for two reasons: first, this laser used to be trying to figure out how to make fusion happen, and second, the weapons research does not involve turning it into a laser cannon.
 
Back in March, we posted about how this could be the year where the National Ignition Facility breaks even with laser fusion, reaching the point where as much power is generated as is input. This doesn't mean we've got a fusion power plant around the corner, though, and researchers have come clean about what the hold-up is.
 
Fusion is the way our sun powers itself. It's clean, it's efficient, and all you need is hydrogen, which we've got a bunch of stashed away in the ocean. We've been having trouble making fusion happen here on Earth, because we don't have any suns lying around to do it for us, but this could be the year where we make it happen, efficiently, with giant lasers.
 
On Friday, we told you about a potentially revolutionary new technology that was about to undergo its first trial in Italy: called the E-Cat, it supposedly combines hydrogen and nickel using a catalyst to generate heat (and electricity) without any radiation or carbon emissions. So, has society been revolutionized over the weekend? Not quite.

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