US scientists achieve major breakthrough in nuclear fusion | Inquirer

US scientists achieve major breakthrough in nuclear fusion

/ 11:41 AM December 12, 2022

For decades, scientists have been studying how to harness the fusion reaction that powers the sun. The US government scientists at a California laboratory have reached a historic breakthrough in harnessing power from fusion energy. 

On Tuesday, the US Department of Energy will officially announce the breakthrough. Jennifer Granholm, US Energy Secretary, will announce the “major scientific breakthrough” that the Financial Times first reported. 

After decades of research, scientists have reached an incredible milestone in the quest for clean energy, as they successfully recreated nuclear fusion. This type of fusion replicates the power source of the sun. The fusion has humongous implications for breaking the world’s dependence on irregular and unsustainable fossil fuels. 

US scientists achieve major breakthrough in nuclear fusion

The result of this experiment could potentially revolutionize today’s understanding of limitless and renewable energy sources and create leaps and bounds within the scientific community for years to come.

Nuclear fusion has been a major topic of interest in the scientific community since its potential as an unlimited energy source became obvious. This process of fusing multiple atomic nuclei together to create one larger one releases a staggering amount of energy. In addition, it has the potential to revolutionize our current energy infrastructure. 

While it is still in its early stages, recent breakthroughs have suggested that viable fusion reactors capable of producing energy from this process are well within reach; scientists predict it could be cost-effective and more efficient than current methods within the next decade.


Scientists worldwide have worked hard and have made exciting progress with nuclear fusion. In February, UK scientists claimed to have achieved a record-breaking feat. They reported that they had attained twice as much fusion power as before. This is an incredible achievement as it could provide a sustainable energy source for our society in the future.

Nuclear fusion process

Scientists working near Oxford recently managed to generate a record-breaking amount of energy within a tokamak – a huge donut-shaped machine outfitted with giant magnets. Staggeringly, this immense burst of power was sustained for 5 seconds before dissipating. While this feat only lasted a fraction of the time, the implications are nonetheless impressive. It is potentially momentous for the future of renewable energy.


The process of nuclear fusion, which is the process of fusing atoms together, has long been studied and explored as a potential source of energy production. Its potential lies in producing extreme heat when different types of atoms fuse together, making it an extremely powerful energy source.

As reported by CNN earlier this year, the process of fusion is a revolutionary way to create energy in ways never seen before. This process produces helium and neutrons. What’s remarkable is that these elements are lighter in mass than the parts from which they originally came. 

This process has proven to be an efficient way to generate power. The missing mass can be converted into an enormous amount of energy released from neutrons. These neutrons then escape the plasma and collide with a protective lining known as a blanket near the walls. This energy is then transferrable as heat.

People can use that for various purposes, including heating water, creating steam, and powering turbines. This newfound power source could significantly impact our shift away from increasingly environmentally damaging methods of electricity production.

Nuclear fusion temperature

The machine that produces the necessary reaction for fusion energy prototype research must endure extreme conditions, reaching temperatures of 150 million degrees Celsius. This temperature is impressive – at least 10 times hotter than the sun’s core. In order to make any significant progress with this type of research and technology, these kinds of cutting-edge machines are essential.

Harnessing fusion energy has been a long sought-after goal. It would provide a clean and abundant energy source to power entire cities. The challenge is that to be viable; the process needs to be sustained for extended periods of time. So that it can provide meaningful electricity at scale.

Securing sustainable long-term sources of fusion energy can potentially revolutionize the planet’s global climate crisis, and so far, US scientists have been on their way to achieving this milestone.

The UK’s fusion scientist said the US’s recent milestone was undeniably promising. But the scientist cautioned that this only serves as a foundation for what they need to do for commercial activity. Despite the breakthrough in the US, more extensive and subtle research and innovation are necessary. Especially if fusion will be an energy source in the future.

Success in the research

Tony Roulstone from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering shared with CNN, “They have worked on the design and the makeup of the target and the shape of the energy pulse to get much better results.

The opposing argument is that this result is far from the energy gain requirement for electricity production. Therefore, we can say (it) is a success of the science but a long way from providing useful energy.”

The news of a breakthrough in creating fusion power has prompted much excitement and speculation regarding transitioning away from traditional fossil fuels. The implications would be game-changing if we could develop these stations on a large scale.

Not only can they generate electricity but also for the environment since such a reaction does not emit any carbon. Nor does it leave behind any long-lasting radioactive waste. 

According to The Times, a small cup of hydrogen fuel can power an entire house for hundreds of years. Despite still being decades away from perfecting this technology, this impressive possibility provides new hope. Humankind can make strides toward reducing our environmental impact.

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TAGS: energy production, research breakthroughs, Trending, U.S. government
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