Last week, LLNL's National Ignition Facility successfully 'ignited' a nuclear fusion reaction equivalent to what takes place in the sun: the conversion of hydrogen to helium + energy. In a first, the experiment produced more energy than was needed to initiate the reaction. While the experiment lasted only fractions of a second, it proved what had been hypothesized since the 1960’s: that lasers can be used to induce energy-generating fusion in a laboratory setting. The enormity of this achievement is that it brings the possibility of cheap, clean and safe nuclear fusion energy one step closer to reality. Joined by guest hosts Julio Friedman and Darren Hau, Climate Now sat down with Dr. Annie Kritcher, the principal designer for the successful fusion experiment, to discuss what they have accomplished, why it was so significant, and what the National Ignition Facility will be focusing on next in their work to make nuclear fusion a viable energy source.
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