Washington.- The US Department of Energy will announce on Tuesday For the first time scientists managed to produce a nuclear meltdown which releases a net gain of energyAn important milestone in the multi-decade, multi-billion dollar quest to develop A technology that supplies clean, cheap and unlimited energy.
Fusion testing aims to replicate the nuclear reaction by which the Sun produces its energy. is that The “Holy Grail” of Carbon Free Energy Which scientists have been following since the 1950s. And it’s still at least a decade away, if not more, for commercial use, but this new breakthrough is likely to be branded by the Biden administration as a reappraisal of massive US state investments. throughout the year.
Huge amounts of public and private money from around the world have bet on the race for nuclear fusion with the ultimate goal of developing a fusion mechanism that could power the electrical grid without leaving a carbon footprint or radioactive waste and to take May use far fewer resources than necessary. Benefits of solar or wind power. but In addition to the environmental benefits, its proponents say it would help bring affordable energy to the world’s poorest countries.
“For most of us, it was just a matter of time”says a veteran nuclear scientist familiar with work at the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, where the discovery was made.
The discovery was first reported by the daily on Sunday financial Times And this was confirmed by two people close to the investigation, who prefer to remain anonymous so as not to anticipate an official announcement on Tuesday. Energy Secretary, jennifer granholmwill be in charge of making the announcement during a media event “Where an important scientific breakthrough will be discovered.”
Both the energy ministry and the national laboratory declined to comment. A lab official said the researchers were still finalizing their data and would not release any findings before Tuesday.
The science of nuclear fusion involves colliding two atoms at very high speeds and converting the energy of that collision into electricity that powers homes and offices without releasing carbon into the atmosphere or releasing radioactive waste into the environment.
In decades of experimenting with fusion reactions, scientists have so far failed to generate a collision that releases more energy than it consumes. While new success is important, The remaining scientific and engineering challenges remain difficult.
Generating that net gain of energy involves the use of one of the largest lasers in the world, and the resources required to recreate that reaction on a scale capable of producing consumer power cannot be calculated. And what’s more important: Engineers have not yet designed machinery that can convert that reaction into electricity for mass consumption at an affordable cost.
According to the scientists, building devices large enough to create large-scale fusion would require materials that are extraordinarily difficult to produce. At the same time, during fusion, neutrons are produced that generate a Extreme pressure on the team, to the point that it may self-destruct in the process.
The second question is whether this technology It will be completed in time to turn the tide on climate change.
Nevertheless, researchers and investors alike hailed the discovery as a major breakthrough.
“It’s a great source of pride that this happened in the United States,” he says. David EdelmanHead of Global Affairs at TAE, a large private fusion energy company. “This is a real milestone on the road for fusion power.”
and it only comes in the form of government Biden has decided to prioritize fusion power research as part of his energy and climate agenda. The projects related to the merger are the first in a collection window for tens of billions of dollars in subsidies and allocations provided in the massive climate package approved by Biden in the middle of the year.
In the past decades, USA, Russia and many European countries He has spent billions of dollars from the public treasury to try to master that form of energy, which he is sure will be a blessing to the world.
By Evan Halper and Pranshu Verma
Translation by Jaime Arrambide