US nuclear-fusion lab enters new era: achieving ‘ignition’ over and over (Jeff Tollefson, 12/17/23, Nature)

In December 2022, after more than a decade of effort and frustration, scientists at the US National Ignition Facility (NIF) announced that they had set a world record by producing a fusion reaction that released more energy than it consumed — a phenomenon known as ignition. They have now proved that the feat was no accident by replicating it again and again, and the administration of US President Joe Biden is looking to build on this success by establishing a trio of US research centres to help advance the science.

The stadium-sized laser facility, housed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, has unequivocally achieved its goal of ignition in four out of its last six attempts, creating a reaction that generates pressures and temperatures greater than those that occur inside the Sun.