For the first time, scientists have produced a fusion reaction that creates a net energy gain, a key milestone in the quest for abundant zero-carbon power, the Department of Energy plans to announce on Tuesday, The Washington Post has reported.
Despite the breakthrough, the commercial use of such technology is still probably decades away, but the Biden administration is likely to tout the achievement as an affirmation of a massive investment by the government over the years.
The White House had announced in March a plan to accelerate fusion's commercial development over the coming decades through domestic projects such as what is going on at LLNL, as well as continued investment in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in southern France, where 35 nations are working together to achieve the goal, according to CBS News.
The White House heralded in the spring fusion's "potential to revolutionize the energy industry, helping combat the climate crisis while meeting the growing electricity needs of the U.S. and the world."
The White House noted that "of the more than 30 fusion companies in the world, two-thirds are based in the U.S., and most were founded in the last decade," explaining that "by partnering with these companies, we have an opportunity to keep these companies growing within our borders and cement U.S. technological leadership on fusion."
Dr. Scott Hsu, lead fusion coordinator at the Office of the Undersecretary for Science and Innovation at the U.S. Department of Energy, said that "the race to fusion is also a race for future global leadership," CBS News reported.
He emphasized that "while fusion has long enjoyed international collaboration and should continue to do so, make no mistake, fusion is now also an international competition. Failure to act now may relegate the U.S. to being importers rather than exporters of fusion technology."