Physicists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL’s) National Ignition Facility (NIF) have achieved a new laser-fusion record by generating 1.3 megajoules (MJ), or around 700-times the US energy grid. This $3.5-billion facility was designed specifically for investigating fusion reactions at the heart of thermonuclear weapons, and not operate as a standard power plant. Thanks to this breakthrough, researchers believe that the NIF will be able to test the reliability of nuclear weapons without detonation. Read more for a video and additional information.
The main goal of NIF is to provide experimental insight and data for NNSA’s science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program. These experiments are conducted in pursuit of fusion ignition and provide data in an important experimental regime that is extremely difficult to access. Fusion ignition is also the link that could eventually enable access to high fusion yields in the future.
- 120X, 240X, 300X, 480X, 600X and 1200X three magnification beginner microscope
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This result is a historic step forward for inertial confinement fusion research, opening a fundamentally new regime for exploration and the advancement of our critical national security missions. It is also a testament to the innovation, ingenuity, commitment and grit of this team and the many researchers in this field over the decades who have steadfastly pursued this goal. For me it demonstrates one of the most important roles of the national labs – our relentless commitment to tackling the biggest and most important scientific grand challenges and finding solutions where others might be dissuaded by the obstacles,” said LLNL Director Kim Budil.