back to article Lawrence Livermore lab repeats fusion breakthrough – yep, still kinda works

Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have repeated their breakthrough fusion experiment, which nominally produced more energy than it consumed. The US security-linked institution claimed a world-first in December last year when it produced 3.15 megajoules of fusion energy as output, exceeding …

  1. unix.beard

    Yes, as Sabine Hossenfelder would say: "Keep dusting those solar panels, guys!"

  2. elDog

    Sticking one of these NIF fusion reactors, and especially the ITER on ones rooftop

    would guarantee that you'll never need to worry about heat or eleccy again! Under several thousand tons/tonnes of equipment you'll be insulated from any temperature fluctuations (well except the upcoming solar super-nova.)

  3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge


    "...confidence that it will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and satisfy an economic environment in which it's got to live."

    Exactly what Microsoft thought when they named Office 365

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Confidence

      That's going to be interesting in leap years..

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Confidence

        I thought with Microsoft 365 every year was a leap year, at least in terms of reliability?

  4. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    If they continue at that rate it will be merely 500 years until they have a Gigawatt reactor.

    Disclaimer: pastprogressisnoindicationoffutureprogressassumeslinearcontinuationofcurrentprogressandmaychangeinaccordancewithfuturedatapointsindicatingprogressisnonlinear

    1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

      Re: Progress!

      How did you get the disclaimer past the spell checker?

      1. cookieMonster Silver badge

        Re: Progress!

        A nice cool beer for you

  5. cageordie

    And for their next trick

    After they get net positive energy for the whole facility they can solve the problem of where the fuel is going to come from.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: And for their next trick

      So if I drop a match into a bucket of petrol and the energy I get out is greater than the energy from the match - I've made positive miles/gallon ?

      1. cookieMonster Silver badge

        Re: And for their next trick

        No, but you might get a darwin award

  6. First Light

    Dame Ion

    Has to be the best name for a nuclear scientist.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Dame Ion

      Less risky to announce at parties than Lord Hadron, to be fair.

  7. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    A question

    Does anybody know how much energy has been put into the lasers to get that 2.05 MJ into the hohlraum?

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: A question


      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: A question

        Well done.

    2. nemecystt

      Re: A question

      Circa 300MJ

  8. Steve Crook

    > confidence that it will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and satisfy an economic environment in which it's got to live

    That's a high bar that's not applied to anything else we're planning to use to generate electricity as part of net zero. I thought we'd more or less abandoned the idea of baseload in favour of switching stuff off to match wind and solar output. Or am I being unduly cynical?

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      You are being unduly cynical. 'Tis true that a lot of hot air has been expelled along these lines, but my guess is that when Joe and Josephine Voter are asked to turn off their central heating in mid-winter, politicians will discover the importance of baseload.

    2. dwieske

      abandoning baseload is extremely stupid....we got there because media and people allow the ecoknobs to gaslights everyone by calling baseload "not flexible" and not able to adapt to the randomness of solar/wind. Seems like reliability and efficiency are considered a bad thing. Net Zero is a falacy....Application of the stuff has led to increases in exhaust, not lessingen carbon output as is clearly demonstrated by germany and denmark

  9. DJO Silver badge

    And then what?

    This reaction produces enough energy to boil a few litres of water, the diamond container for the fuel which itself is destroyed cost around $10,000 each and the energy to prime the reaction is orders of magnitude greater than the energy released.

    While interesting from an academic perspective I have difficulty seeing how this could ever be a viable energy source.

    Then there is the problem of Tritium supply. Natural processes on Earth produce about 5kg of Tritium per year, fusion will require tonnes of the stuff and the Neutron/Lithium reaction cannot make enough to be self-sustaining even at an impossible 100% efficiency.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: And then what?

      But, but ... it's a really good bit of PR for a machine whose sole reason to exist is "making better hydrogen bombs".

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: And then what?

        I think H bombs work well enough. Putting a metric shit-ton of lasers round them hooked up to the power grid isn't going to make them more useful militarily.

    2. nemecystt

      Re: And then what?

      I agree that NIF is a terrible approach for power production. Your comments regarding Tritium breeding are off though. At least in theory. Test modules at ITER are planned for this, and a number of the private companies in this space will be getting to that stage in the next few years (probably before ITER). Beryllium or Lead can be used as a Neutron Multiplier (one in, two out kinda thing) and closed cycle gain of around 1.2 is predicted.

  10. bobkn

    The hohlraum is 120mm long?

    That's about an order of magnitude more than I'd expect.

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