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The Monarch Times

Could Fusion Solve Our Energy Crisis

Throughout the world, governments have to face consequences of a global energy crisis. Those include record energy prices, fuel shortages, rising poverty, and slower economic growth, which directly impacts people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Moreover, annual carbon dioxide emissions have increased and will continue to rise in the near future despite government efforts to reduce emissions.  Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, which is a federally funded research and development center, has been working to solve both the energy and global climate crises. 

In December of 2022, in a tiny, concealed chamber, scientists successfully shot 192 lasers at a small hydrogen pallet. This fusion reaction produced more energy than it used up. This resulted in the first net energy gain fusion reaction, which essentially makes use of the same reaction process that powers the sun. Mt. Eden Physics teacher Serge Arzumanov shared: “I believe that nuclear energy plays an important role in the future. It is unclear at this point what portion of the energy demand will be fulfilled through nuclear energy in the near future.”

Scientists replicated the reaction in July of 2023. This time, scientists produced double the amount of energy needed to start the reaction. This experiment’s success could mark a significant advancement in finding a clean, practically unlimited source of energy without any reliance on fossil fuels. 

Unlike nuclear fission, which is produced by nuclear power plants, it does not generate any hazardous radioactive waste for generations to deal with. Experts unanimously agree that this is a massive step forward in clean renewable energy. Moreover, according to the U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, whose government organization is in charge of the Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, this is a “major scientific breakthrough.” 

She states that this groundbreaking achievement will bring the world one step closer to realizing an effective, carbon-free energy solution for the future. Some scientists claim we will not have effective nuclear fusion until 30 years from now, but most experts provide an optimistic estimate of 10 to 15 years. Nuclear fusion has the potential to revolutionize the energy sector for decades to come, producing up to 4 times as much energy as nuclear fission. Some predict  this will create waste free solutions to energy production. Arzumanov concludes, “In theory, fusion reactions should pose significantly less risks than fission. However, at this point in time, there are still some problems that engineers haven’t been able to solve, in order to implement this form of energy harnessing.”

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Diego Urbina
Diego Urbina, Staff Writer
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