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I’m not sure what to make of this but The Financial Times is reporting that scientists at the Livermore laboratory in California believe, according to preliminary results, that they have achieved a net energy gain with a fusion reaction. Though the practical immediate impact would be very limited, the historic impact of such an achievement is great. In theory a controlled fusion reaction holds the promise of essentially limitless clean energy. The fuel is simple hydrogen. This, if true, is simply getting slightly more out of a fusion reaction than that used to create it. But this is certainly a key milestone on the path to that. The article claims that Energy Secretary Granholm will make some announcement on Tuesday. There was a fusion announcement a couple decades ago that turned out to be bunk. So I can’t help but be skeptical about this — honestly, very skeptical. I also have some question why the news is appearing first (and only, so far as I can tell) in The Financial Times. Still, if it were true the future would change dramatically.

Late Update: Having seen so little press pick-up besides The Financial Times and getting some more reader feedback I’m inclined to think this is a more incremental step in the process than is presented in the article. So I think my skepticism was merited but more on the significance than the accuracy. Do you know the science of fusion? Let me know what you think.

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