Manufacturing Star Power
Nuclear fusion is the creative reaction occuring in the heart of our sun. Without it, life on this planet could not exist. In the 1930s the meddling of scientists and politicians harnessed this awsome power into nuclear warheads for destructive purposes. However, for the last 100 years the quest to control this same force for generative functions has also been a primary focus of physicists worldwide. It is theorized that nuclear fusion, properly controlled, could solve many of our world's energy problems.
Recent claims by the National Ignition Facility (NIF) of Livermore, California, are bringing the dream of this clean, reliable, and sustainable energy within reach. This Spring NIF will be channeling a laser beam through a near mile long labyrinth of mirrors, lens, and amplifiers. During its journey, the laser will split and ultimately reconverge in a tiny golden cylinder. The hope is to ignite a fusion reaction within their man-made star. The operation is 11 years in the making and carries a price tag of $1.7 billion. If successful the experiment will bring humankind one step closer to opening the first nuclear fusion power plant.
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