World’s Largest Laser Could Make Nuclear Fusion A Reality

April 5, 2009 at 9:57 pm Leave a comment

The U.S. Department of Energy on Tuesday certified the world’s largest laser–the $3.5 billion creation of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory–which could allow scientists to create nuclear fusion energy.

Over the next two years, scientists will attempt, in effect, to create a miniature sun. By 2010 or 2011, they hope to achieve “ignition” – producing tiny thermonuclear explosions inside capsule targets in hopes of ultimately creating a limitless source of fusion energy.

If successful, nuclear fusion could provide a clean, cheap power source for the world’s energy needs. Nuclear fusion holds no risk of a nuclear meltdown and would generate insignificant waste byproducts, compared to conventional nuclear fission, which produces large quantities of radioactive waste.

But nuclear fusion has been a dream for 50 years and an unrealized dream at that. Speaking at a Stanford University energy conference in 2006, now-Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said, “I’m going to skip (discussing) fusion because it will probably skip the 21st century.”

World’s Largest Laser Could Make Nuclear Fusion A Reality | CleanTechBrief

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Entry filed under: Eco.

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