The researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) east of San Francisco were themselves surprised: When they started nuclear fusion in their research power plant on August 8, 2021, they generated an amount of energy of 1 in just 100 picoseconds (10−10 s). 3 megajoules. In this extremely short period of time, this corresponds to an unbelievable power plant output of 13 million gigawatts.
This proves that the scientists were able to set off nuclear melts in a chain reaction for a brief moment. The solar fire burned and consumed a large part of the provided heavy hydrogen in the form of the isotopes deuterium and tritium. The energy output was 25 times as high as in the previous official record run in 2018 and at least eight times as high as in an attempt in spring 2021.
Fusion only from 100 million degrees
However, a functioning nuclear fusion power plant has by no means been created. Because first of all, enormous amounts of energy are required to extremely compress a capsule with deep-frozen hydrogen and heat it to around 100 million degrees Celsius. Only under these extreme conditions do two hydrogen nuclei combine to form a helium nucleus. The fusion of deuterium and tritium also produces high-energy free neutrons that drive the chain reaction in the fusion mixture on for a while.
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