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Power Science

Fusion Reactor Breaks Even 429

mysqlbytes writes "The BBC is reporting the National Ignition Facility (NIF), based at Livermore in California, has succeeded in breaking even — 'During an experiment in late September, the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel — the first time this had been achieved at any fusion facility in the world.'"
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Fusion Reactor Breaks Even

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  • by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:23PM (#45065191)

    Weapons research always trickles down into practical applications.

  • by dlingman ( 1757250 ) on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:30PM (#45065233)

    A few points - Still more energy needed than produced - because lasers aren't 100%. They exceeded the amount of light energy going in, but not the power level fed into the laser. Second, how much of the released energy was in a form that could be fed back in to make the next thingy go moob? Not seeing anything on that here...

    Overall though, it's a step in the right direction. Go guys go!

  • Re:bbc? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Enter the Shoggoth ( 1362079 ) on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:30PM (#45065247)

    why is the bbc first to report on this? It happens in CA, and we get scooped? wtf??

    Given that a lot of formerly serious news agencies have resorted to the tabloid approach for everything it shouldn't be overly surprising that an institution that isn't beholden to market forces and has a long history of effective (and independant) investigative journalism would be first.

    In other words perhaps having a "stiff upper lip" isn't such a bad thing after all.

  • Re:bbc? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:34PM (#45065285)

    why is the bbc first to report on this? It happens in CA, and we get scooped? wtf??

    Because Americans don't care about science and if you told the typical American that we achieved nuclear Fusion, they'd say "That's the same thing that killed all those people in Fukishima, we don't need that sh*t here!"

  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:36PM (#45065303)

    ...the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel...

    "Energy released" is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than "energy generated". They've simply reached the point where causing a fusion reaction doesn't require more input energy than the reaction itself releases - HARNESSING the released energy (a large chunk of which is energetic neutrons, i.e. not recoverable) is another matter entirely.

  • Re:bbc? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Monday October 07, 2013 @08:42PM (#45065337)

    In other words perhaps having a "stiff upper lip" isn't such a bad thing after all.

    Not to mention the fabled "BBC accent", although as I understand it, it's not nearly as extreme as it used to be. Besides, as an American accents mean much less to me in terms of class and such rubbish. The BBC is a great news source though. They even do investigative journalism in the US - I wish US news sources would do as much.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 07, 2013 @09:17PM (#45065595)

    You're a fucking moron if you think there is some great division between military and civilian technology development. Some of you fucks can't see the forest for the trees.
    Oh, and please don't bore us with some bullshit fantasy about love and unity in the human race. We're hardwired for aggression and to think that people are going to collectively throw down their arms and hug is about likely as the second coming of Christ.

  • Re:bbc? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Monday October 07, 2013 @10:02PM (#45065875)

    why is the bbc first to report on this?

    Because of the Fox effect.

    US news outlets have become so dumbed-down that in order to get what used to be regular news, one must pay attention to foreign broadcasters and read foreign print media (on the web, natch). I have NBC World News (the most ironic title ever) DVRed, and I FF through most of it. The rest of the Big Three, CBS and ABC, are like NBC - fluff. CNN Headline News doesn't even exist anymore. BBC, CBC, SRI (which went satellite only in 2004 and web as swissinfo.ch), DW, Al Jazeera, etc. All more reliable and informative than anything here. I skim the local news and anything national is covered far better by foreign press. And then there is just going to the wire services directly.

    Fox "news" is just horrid. The lowest of all of them, catering to the lowest possible denominator - the people most easily propagandized. Since doing this sells a lot better than anything "intellectual", the other networks followed right on down the road to mediocrity. Thus the Fox effect.

    As for print, nobody in his right mind reads Time, Newsweek, or US Snooze. Ever since the WSJ became a Murdoch property, that is also suspect, especially in the editorial department.

    One reads the Pink Paper and The Economist. Even The Guardian is better.

    None are US based.

    BMO - The Scousers never buy The Sun.

  • Re:bbc? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Monday October 07, 2013 @10:26PM (#45066021)

    Who knows why the US press did not get it out first?

    Because if it's not about what some republican or democrat said about the other regarding the budget, ACA, or debt limit nobody is interested right now. Getting one step closer to fusion power just doesn't scare the crap out of anyone, or piss them off like the other issues right now. If you can find a janitor that once worked at the facility and is claiming that there's an out of control black hole that's going to destroy the sun, turn mankind into vampires and vaporize the spotted owl, then we'll hear about it.

  • Re:bbc? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hyperquantization ( 804651 ) on Tuesday October 08, 2013 @10:30AM (#45069827)

    This is not an "important step" towards anything. The NIF system cannot be used as the basis for a power plant, something everyone, including the NIF, is very much aware of. It is an experimental system for studying matter at high densities, and not even very good at that.

    It is incredibly important. At the very least, it's proof that the problems associated with fusion power are solvable. But most importantly, this news will funnel more cash towards further fusion research, further accelerating progress towards real actual power plants.

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman