Scientists have come one step closer to harnessing the power of the sun. Researchers at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) have passed a milestone in achieving self-sustaining nuclear fusion — but you won't hear about it from the researchers. The NIF team has been furloughed as a result of the U.S. government shutdown, which began on Oct. 1, and is not releasing updates to the press.
According to the BBC, a research experiment conducted in late September succeeded in releasing more energy through a fusion reaction than it absorbed by the fuel going in. NIF's method for achieving fusion involves sending 192 laser beams through a 1,500-meter journey that increases its energy output by a factor of more than a quadrillion. The laser beams' energy grows from one-billionth of a joule to 4 million joules in 5 millionths of a second.
Apparent breakthrough in nuclear fusion silenced by shutdown
We may have just gotten one step closer to an unlimited clean energy source