US fusion energy breakthrough produces first ever net energy gain

Scientists may have achieved a radical new step forward in the hunt for limitless, zero-carbon power.

Clean, zero-carbon energy has been one of the pursuits of scientists for decades. Based on our scientific understanding of the sun, scientists have sought to replicate the self-sustained nuclear fusion reactions that allow our sun to power itself, and US scientists may have just gotten closer than ever in that pursuit. The first ever recorded net energy gain was achieved in a recent experiment according several sources familiar with the situation.

The supposed experiment occurred at the federal Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, as reported by the Financial Times. The laboratory used a process called inertial confinement fusion. This process requires bombarding a pellet of hydrogen plasma with a massive laser. It was through this process that the lab achieved a net energy gain in a fusion experiment. Although practical application of this experiment (which uses one of the largest lasers in the world) is still quite far away, the results of the experiment provided a breakthrough which should be highly promising in the hunt for clean, limitless power.

The Sun
Scientists have been trying to pin down the process by which the sun sustainably powers itself through nuclear fusion for decades.
Source: NASA/European Space Agency

Harnessing the fusion reaction that powers up our sun and keeps it sustained has been a target of physicists since around the 1950s, but up to this point, there has never been a man-made fusion reaction that was able to produce more power than it consumed. By creating the foundational process of such a reaction with the intended goal, mankind may be able to inch closer to the goal of creating an abundant alternative to fossil fuels and other conventional energies.

Though the fruits of this experiment are still likely decades away, this breakthrough could mark a monumental milestone in science and energy. And as alternative energy products such as electric vehicles and carbon neutral construction continue to grow, hopefully we will eventually see this experiment as another step towards a more sustainable future on Earth.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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