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The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory will focus 192 laser beams on a hydrogen pellet the size of a bead, heating it to incredible temperatures in an attempt to recreate the power of the sun.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Energy Secretary Steven Chu were scheduled to appear at the ceremony, which began at 10:30 a.m. PDT.
Nuclear fusion would create huge amounts of energy from tiny amounts of fuel. It would produce far less radioactive waste than conventional nuclear reactors. But it takes huge amounts of energy to trigger, and so far humans have managed to do so only by detonating atomic bombs.
"We have this big ball, right?" Ed Moses, program director of the National Ignition Facility, explained to Fox News. "And we hold our little targets inside of there, and the light focuses on there, and that's where all the action happens."
SCIENTISTS have built the world's largest laser, designed to create a nuclear reaction like the one at the centre of the sun.
When it's fired up, 192 laser beams will be focused on a tiny target at the centre of an enormous spherical target chamber, creating temperatures of up to 100 million degrees.
What seems like something out of Star Wars is actually a vast scientific complex in California known as the National Ignition Facility, finished this week after 12 years of construction.
The facility – the size of three football fields – is aimed at unlocking the secrets of nuclear fusion.
"Depending on how you count it, it's between 60 and 100 times more energetic than any laser system that's ever been built," NIF associate director Edward Moses told the MIT Technology Review.
Nuclear fusion is the type of reaction that powers hydrogen bombs. Scientists have yet to control it for civilian purposes.
Originally posted by ChemBreather
Dignitaries and top scientists gathered near San Francisco Friday for the formal opening of a massive new facility that they hope will accomplish what was once thought impossible — nuclear fusion, the Holy Grail of energy sources.
source Fox News
The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Ignition Facility, explained to Fox News. "And we hold our little targets inside of there, and the light focuses on there, and that's where all the action happens."
Some photos here
Originally posted by SkepticPerhaps
Right, so they must of had this... 30 years ago? 40?
In 1974, Livermore finished the one-beam, 10-joule Janus laser and used it to conduct the first fusion experiments at the Laboratory. It was used to demonstrate for the first time the thermonuclear reaction in laser-imploded deuterium–tritium fuel capsules. Starting in 1974, the two-beam Janus laser was used to gain a better understanding of laser–plasma physics and thermonuclear physics. It was also used to improve the LASNEX computer code, a hydrodynamics code developed in the 1970s for laser fusion predictions, which is still in use today.
The one-beam Cyclops was also completed in 1974. Its beamline was a prototype of the yet-to-be built Shiva laser.
The 20-beam Shiva became the world’s most powerful laser in 1977, delivering 10.2 kilojoules of energy in less than a billionth of a second in its first full-power firing. In June 1979, Shiva compressed fusion fuel to a density of 50 to 100 times greater than its liquid density.
When the United States ceased nuclear testing, laser facilities became even more important for defense research, and the portion of Nova shots dedicated to the weapons program increased considerably. Researchers using Nova continued obtaining high-energy-density data necessary to validate the computer codes used to model nuclear weapons physics.
The world's most powerful laser was dedicated at the Livermore National Laboratory in California. It's designed to shore up the nation's aging nuclear weapons. (May 29)
Originally posted by peskyhumans
The article is dated June 1, 2009. Does anyone know when they turn it on?
How exactly will they harness that explosive energy and convert it into electricity?