Monday, December 12, 2022

Financial Times: Lawrence Livermore, Secretary of Energy to report on fusion "breakthrough" on Tuesday

Via the Financial Times, this news on an apparent planned press conference: 

...The fusion reaction at the US government facility produced about 2.5 megajoules of energy, which was about 120 per cent of the 2.1 megajoules of energy in the lasers, the people with knowledge of the results said, adding that the data was still being analysed.

The US department of energy has said energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and under-secretary for nuclear security Jill Hruby will announce “a major scientific breakthrough” at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on Tuesday. The department declined to comment further.

The laboratory confirmed that a successful experiment had recently taken place at its National Ignition Facility but said analysis of the results was ongoing.

“Initial diagnostic data suggests another successful experiment at the National Ignition Facility. However, the exact yield is still being determined and we can’t confirm that it is over the threshold at this time,” it said. “That analysis is in process, so publishing the information . . . before that process is complete would be inaccurate.”

Two of the people with knowledge of the results said the energy output had been greater than expected, which had damaged some diagnostic equipment, complicating the analysis. The breakthrough was already being widely discussed by scientists, the people added....

This post is basically to record my personal thoughts prior to whatever press releases are going to come out between now and Tuesday. I think it would be better for there to be some kind of article/pre-print published, and who knows, maybe there will be between now and then. 

It seems to me that the damage to diagnostic equipment would be important to address, and I guess I will believe the results when they've repeated the results enough. It seems to me that having an independent group confirm the data would be important as well, but I am sure that the relevant project leaders know that they are going out on a limb by having Secretary Granholm announce this on Tuesday. 

I guess I would call myself simply "skeptical" and not even "skeptical but hopeful." We shall see - I hope to be pleasantly surprised.  

1 comment:

  1. Interestingly, today more info is coming out to put the news in context. While the experiment recorded 3ish megajoules of energy from 2 megajoules pumped in, 300 megajoules was required to produce the 2-megajoule laser burst. So still a lot of work to do in ... energy efficiently setting up the conditions for fusion? Still sounds a lot more reasonable than the cold fusion debacle.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20