“US Set to Announce Fusion Energy ‘Breakthrough'”

“… the Department of Energy plans to announce on Tuesday, The Washington Post has reported.

The milestone was made recently at the government-funded Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California.

Despite the breakthrough, the commercial use of such technology is still probably decades away, but the Biden administration is likely to tout the achievement as an affirmation of a massive investment by the government over the years.

The White House had announced in March a plan to accelerate fusion’s commercial development over the coming decades through domestic projects such as what is going on at LLNL, as well as continued investment in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in southern France, where 35 nations are working together to achieve the goal, according to CBS News.

The White House heralded in the spring fusion’s “potential to revolutionize the energy industry, helping combat the climate crisis while meeting the growing electricity needs of the U.S. and the world.”

The White House noted that “of the more than 30 fusion companies in the world, two-thirds are based in the U.S., and most were founded in the last decade,” explaining that “by partnering with these companies, we have an opportunity to keep these companies growing within our borders and cement U.S. technological leadership on fusion.”

Dr. Scott Hsu, lead fusion coordinator at the Office of the Undersecretary for Science and Innovation at the U.S. Department of Energy, said that “the race to fusion is also a race for future global leadership,” CBS News reported.”

Comment: I know that you all are weary of fusion news, but this looks like the real deal. pl

US Set to Announce Fusion Energy ‘Breakthrough’ | Newsmax.com

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23 Responses to “US Set to Announce Fusion Energy ‘Breakthrough'”

  1. Leirh says:

    Only 0.4 megajoules net gain equals just one tenth of a kilowatt-hour. So decades of major engineering effort to go perhaps before available for my great-great grand babies.

    • Pat Lang says:

      I dunno, wouldn’t bet on that long.

    • blue peacock says:

      I have read that the lasers in this setup can only be fired once a day whereas for a commercial deployment it would need to be fired several times a second. So much more engineering ahead.

      In the mean time we have 2 nuclear reactors under construction similar to Bangla Desh!

      Dunno why….but nuclear fission reactors provide the best clean energy baseload compared to any other technology. I’m sure it is all politics and the “leftist marxists” are not the only ones to blame. The conservatives – GOP & GOPe are in on it too. They’ve had plenty of opportunities when they were in the majority and had the presidency.

      • TTG says:

        blue peacock,

        Building new nuclear reactors makes little sense from a capitalist point of view. A new reactor takes a dozen plus years to build and are massively expensive during that long development time. What shareholder would stand for that? Maybe those new modular reactors will change that.

        • Peter Williams says:

          Reactor building times are as little as four years and most are built within seven years. Almost all are built by Governments, so shareholders are irrelevant. The lifespan is regarded as at least 50 years, so the ROI is very good.

        • blue peacock says:


          You do know that both solar & wind are heavily subsidized by our government.

          • TTG says:

            blue peacock,

            The oil and gas industry receives a lot more government subsidies than the solar and wind industries. Although I’m sure much of that can be explained by the disparity in size between these two sectors.

          • blue peacock says:


            Maybe the government could do the same for nuclear electricity & heat generation. Or even better do Power Purchase Agreements with the utilities and other commercial energy consumers while owning & operating the assets. They have a lot of experience with nuclear warships & submarines with a good safety track record. The PPA’s with their long-term cash flows could then be securitized and sold to investors. The opportunity in the US is that we can build new reactors with newer technologies that use previous spent fuel as their fuel source. In a decade we could have terawatts of clean baseload electricity generation at a cost much less than what we spent on the Afghanistan & Iraq boondoggles.

          • TTG says:

            blue peacock,

            They have. In the early months of the Biden administration, the DOE started investing in small modular reactor development. Biden’s infrastructure bill puts billions into maintaining and advancing nuclear power in the US. Socialists!

  2. TTG says:

    It’s the real deal alright. I have faith in human ingenuity and in the science that fusion energy will eventually arrive. As the article said, this is still decades off. I may be long gone by then, but FIDO.

  3. James says:

    We don’t have an unlimited amount of hydrocarbons in the ground, and I think that wind and solar are seriously overrated. So this news lifts my spirits considerably.

    • borko says:

      With much better batteries we could do a lot with solar power.

      We have this gargantuan fusion “reactor” already set up and running free and unattended, we have an increasingly efficient way to convert that energy but we have no good way of storing it.

      With good batteries we would have vast possibilities at our disposal.

  4. borko says:

    The quest for fusion reminds me of alchemy.
    When it comes to fusion, my impression is that the scientists are doing something wrong.

    I feel we desperately need new fundamental breakthroughs in physics.
    But somehow the exploratory spirit of centuries past has been lost.

    I think Neil deGrasse Tyson in his discussion with Joe Rogan on gravity exemplifies this.

    Joe Rogan wants to know what gravity is, Tyson just kindly dismisses him saying:
    “In science if we can describe how something works and predict its future behaviour we claim to understand it and we move on.”

    Tyson is happy that we understand gravity well enough to land a spacecraft on Mars and thinks we have gravity solved.

    But we don’t.

    For example:
    Can you make a device that can generate gravity on a space station without spinning it
    Can you make antigravity devices that can help you lift heavy objects ?

    We cannot, because we don’t fundamentally understand gravity. The same I suspect is with fusion. It’s like trying to make an efficient electric device by imitating lightning.

    Joe Rogan in that interview, with his inquisitive mind is acting more like a scientist than Tyson who acts like a bureaucrat.
    People like Joe Rogan and Elon Musk push the boundaries, today’s scientists, I don’t know… something is missing.

    Here’s Joe Rogan and NGT discussing gravity:

    • jld says:

      “But somehow the exploratory spirit of centuries past has been lost.”
      NOT AT ALL!!!
      There is a humongous amount of research in physics and lots and lots of new results.
      Though, of course, this does not result in immediate practical developments.
      For those willing to have an appreciation of Physics without much mathematics I would recommend Tim Maudlin who is astoundingly easy to follow:

      • borko says:

        If you look at just the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries we have people like:

        Einstein, Feynman, Hertz, Faraday, Bohr, Gauss, Planck, Marconi, Rontgen, Kelvin, Tesla, Edison, Joule, Becquerel, Ohm, Maxwell, Kirchhoff, Curie, Lorentz, Boltzmann, Ampere, Fourier, Newton, Mach, Becquerel, Lenz, Bell, Watson…

        and many, many others who took us from horse and carriage to outer space. Were all these people just picking up low hanging fruit ?

        How many scientists were doing research in 19th century and how many are there now ?

        Look at the tools a scientist had at his/her disposal 100 years ago and the tools a modern scientist has.

        Yet despite all this, how many fundamental scientific breakthroughs have we had in the last 60 years ?

        We’ve been to the Moon in 1969. Elon Musk had not even been born by then.

        • jld says:

          I still disagree, just because YOU don’t know the names of current physicists or cannot pinpoint an application of recent discoveries doesn’t mean that there are not plenty of such physicists and physical gimmicks.
          Do you know John Bell (not Graham) or David Bohm?
          Do you know that a functioning laser did not (could not…) exist before 1953?
          Read Maudlin’s Space and Time, you will find a lot of recent articles where research is still going on or recently settled, and it’s mind boggling, the universe is NOT AT ALL like us, laymen, think it is, for example inside black holes time vanishes, i.e. our very idea of time with a past-present-future does not make sense anymore. 🙂

          • borko says:

            I listed names of well known people. They are well known because their contributions propelled us forward in a significant way.

            IMO we’ve been stagnating for decades. Sure, incremental improvements have been made, but nothing like what has been accomplished by above mentioned greats.

            This is no surprise if the majority of scientists share Neil deGrasse Tyson’s complacent view regarding issues like gravity.

            If this continues, in 50 years time we’ll still be awaiting practical fusion and making plans to maybe send someone to plant a flag on Mars.

            Maybe we’ll even go backwards as Musk suggests.

            You should take a look at this presentation by an excellent computer scientist John Blow about the state of today’s computing technology. It is very interesting.

            It is titled, Preventing the Collapse of Civilization.


            Or Casey Muratori’s, “The thirty million line problem”


  5. Jake K says:

    I am hopeful for a break through as an unlimited source of clean power would change everything. But right now I can’t actually see how the first law of thermodynamics gets broken to allow for fusion based technology. Am I missing something?

  6. A. Pols says:

    For years fusion researchers have been issuing announcements of progress being made in the lab, but the common denominator is always that very transient “sparks” are initiated via complex means, very transient with no hint as to how any of it could be scaled up and made self sustaining. This has been the Gordian knot for decades and no real progress points to anything like a solution to the confinement problem, without which no steady state reactor can be built. Still the holy grail…

  7. TTG says:

    Fusion won’t produce limitless energy unless a new fuel source is found. Current fusion reactors use tritium-deuterium. Worldwide stocks of tritium amounts to 35 kilograms. ITER experiments will eat most of that up by the time those experiments shut down. Other fuels will work, but that will involve more time and work.

  8. kodlu says:

    This summary of the experiment is very good and has a detail I missed in other coverage.


    “The team reported yesterday at a press briefing that one of its laser-powered fusion reaction trials produced 1.5 times more energy than it consumed. The result is the second major advance reported this year by the NIF team (see Viewpoint: Fusion Turns Up the Heat). That demonstration produced a gain (the ratio of energy out to energy in) of 0.72, while this experiment achieves a gain greater than one—a first for any fusion experiment.


    One of the main obstacles to commercialization is the overall efficiency of the process. Each firing of the lasers requires 300 MJ of electricity, meaning that the fusion reactions are operating at a net loss of 99% of the initial energy input. Another drawback is the repetition rate, which is currently limited to roughly one laser shot per day. A commercial fusion reactor would need to perform a few shots per minute, according to Budil.”

    So there is a fixed net energy cost in the beginning, which has to be amortised over the firings, but as of now the repetition rate is too low. Each firing gives a net gain of much smaller MJ compared to the initial outlay.

    These are engineering problems that can be fixed over time, I am sure.

  9. Here is the official Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announcement:

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: National Ignition Facility achieves fusion ignition.

  10. William says:

    As is common with most reporting these days, this is very misleading. Yes, it does count as very small progress. But tellingly the energy output versus energy input is about 1% and is based upon a material that could never realistically be used as a fuel source. In addition, other laboratories have failed to repeat the efficiency of these unremarkable results.

    As the old saying goes “fusion power is 30 years away and always will be,” and this news only underlines that. See the following for an excellent summary:


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