US announces breakthrough in nuclear fusion

Scientists in the US have announced a major success in nuclear fusion research. For the first time, more energy was generated than consumed in the process of fusing atomic nuclei, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said with reference to experiments conducted at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. Is this the dawn of a new energy era?

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El Mundo (ES) /

The future is bright

El Mundo is thrilled:

“This is a breakthrough that would not only solve the world's supply problems, but also the problem of global warming. The potential seems unimaginable. If we take the amount of lithium in an object as small as a mobile phone and apply fusion technology, we could generate the energy needed by one European for 20 to 30 years. The energy crisis makes this discovery even more relevant. This technology will change the world, and Spain, as the third-biggest supplier of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), is actively involved. ... This is a revolution of the kind that will shape not only our times, but also our children's future. A bright future.”

The Guardian (GB) /

On the path to carbon-free energy

Our energy problems could soon be a thing of the past, The Guardian rejoices:

“If the technology can be perfected, fusion offers carbon-free energy for everyone on the planet for thousands, probably millions, of years. It doesn't create long-lived radioactive waste, and there's no chance of meltdowns such as those at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Fusion would complement renewables by providing baseload energy, rain or shine, while taking up little precious land. So the prize is big - which is why scientists and engineers have stuck with it for decades. This nuclear breakthrough is, in many ways, what every fusion scientist has been waiting for.”

Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

Better to build on what already exists

The Frankfurter Rundschau, on the other hand, says nuclear fusion is not the panacea it's made out to be:

“Even if energy then seems infinite, all the other resources are not. And economic growth, which is based on the exploitation of more and more natural resources, cannot become sustainable even with nuclear fusion. We must do everything possible to protect the climate now, not in ten, twenty or thirty years' time. So instead of waiting for a potential, expensive technology of the future, the industrialised countries should rely on what already exists and has been proven to work, for example, renewable energies, electric cars, the insulation of housing and energy-saving measures.”