How to Watch Tomorrow’s Big Announcement About Nuclear Fusion Energy

The National Ignition Facility in Livermore, California.

The us The Department of Energy is expected to announce a major breakthrough in nuclear fusion research Tuesday morning.

Word the expected news is already out how the The Financial Times reports yesterday that the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory made a net energy gain in a fusion reaction. This means that more energy was produced from the reaction than was needed to power the reaction.

Although the research result is just that – ie a result with no immediate consequences for ours Energy infrastructure – it is a necessary milestone for any society striving for what is often referred to as the holy grail of energy research: zero carbon Energy source that produces far more force than necessary to use. In other words, and with some caveats, unlimited power.

The press conference on December 13th at 10 p.m. ET will be broadcast live on the Department of Energy’s website. The press conference will take place US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm and Jill Hruby, Undersecretary for Nuclear Security at the Department and Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration.

According to Financial Times reporting, the DOE is expected to announce that a reaction at the National Ignition Facility generated more energy than was needed to catalyze the reaction. Regardless of size, cost, schedule and many other issues, it is a significant and long-awaited project Event.

Joining the DOE officials will be White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Arati Prabhakar, NNSA Assistant Administrator for Defense Programs Marvin Adams, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory director Kim Budil.

It’s a big month for the lab. Last week, research published in Nature revealed a 2-million-year-old paleoenvironment in northern Greenland reanimated from the oldest DNA known to date. The DNA was frozen in the permafrost, and Isotopes in soil have been dated using the laboratory’s Center for Accelerated Mass Spectrometry.

Besides the Holy Grail label, another trope of nuclear fusion is that the technology is always just over the horizon; 30-year and 50-year benchmarks are often cited when scientists are asked when fusion will power the world. We’ll have to wait and see tomorrow whether that’s the case distant goal feels closer to reality.

More: The marathon race towards fusion power could reach a sprint

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