attoman April 2, 2012 02:18 PM This simulation result is good news. Now if just some indication can be found in the experiment.This method is likely to benefit by the soon to be announced Ignition event at Livermore for Laser Inertial Confinement Fusion at the NIF facility. It would be great if both methods for inertial confinement ended up delivering real energy for the planet. Only Laser however at this time has the potential to deliver a real world Mr. Fusion i.e. a compact and light BH (boron hydrogen) near zero radiation fusion machine that could power your ultimate vehicle, home, plane or boat or even space cruiser. ralph.dratman April 2, 2012 02:53 PM Hit that tritium with everything we've got, all at once! Hit it again with even more. Repeat ad infinitum. Eventually it has to light up. Ross Nicholson April 2, 2012 03:21 PM Gung ho! It would be really cool to have fusion power at last, lifting civilization out of these dark hard times of poverty, cruelty, humiliation, and fatigue. Virtually free electricity would move us forward into our galactic future. Congratulations Sandia Labs for your cool simulation. Now get to it! Todd Dunning April 2, 2012 04:04 PM Take that, eco-greenies. Next time before you embarass yourself with absurd feelgood alternative energy boondoggles like wind, take a science class and find out what the adults are up to. Gregg Eshelman April 2, 2012 05:31 PM "Neither approach has demonstrated break-even performance - where the fusion power released is greater than the energy required to establish and maintain the fusing plasma."Break even means the power output from the fusion reaction of the fuel is equal to the energy input required to make it fuse.A fusion reactor running at break even is still useless. It must do much better than break even. The cost and energy it takes to produce the reactor fuel also must be considered.Thermal depolymerization is an example of a technology where the energy obtainable from the fuel produced by it is greater than the energy required to manufacture the fuel.Same goes for gasoline. There's more energy in a gallon of gasoline than it takes to drill for the oil, pump and transport the oil and refine the gasoline out of it. Plus there's all the other useful stuff that can be made from the oil.For Ethanol, it's a far less efficient process to make it from grain or corn. If farms of genetically altered, alcohol producing algae ever get going, that will change because most of the energy required will be "free" from sunlight. The caveat there is the process is only workable in locations that rarely have cloudy skies.What I find funny is all the depictions of fusion reactors in SciFi having massive explosions when they fail, or are "self destructed" when the real things are so difficult to keep going. The first thing a fusion reactor does when anything goes wrong is *stop fusing*. Any fusion powered starship would have an exhaust path (nice and twisty to avoid Death Star style destruction) where the plasma would vent in the event of containment failure. Making a fusion reactor *boom* proof is simply a matter of redundancy and (in cases where directed violence is expected) as wide of separation as possible for the redundant systems.How about a SciFi story where a fusion reactor "unstart" is mostly an annoyance or in battle leaves the ship on a ballistic trajectory, unable to maneuver (except for possibly being able to rotates on its axes) and thus vulnerable to enemy fire. RaVOLT April 2, 2012 08:09 PM Great tech! But - that is overkill to boil a kettle. Am I missing something? It still boils water to generate steam to drive a turbine? Wouldn't it be smarter to have thermal voltaic cells - they are at 4% efficiency at the moment but hey are not getting the funding like fusion. Burnerjack April 2, 2012 09:36 PM Although I really like the idea of Fusion Power, I often wonder if "breakthroughs" occur when it looks like people start to question the value of the investment. I also wonder what could have been accomplished with the same nationa investment in geothermal power. Clean, consistent, baseline geothermal power. When it comes to energy, often the least practical solutions garner undue funding and enthusiasm. Microwave beaming power down from orbiting solar stations and the like. Geothermal to varying degrees of drilling costs is the very definition of ubiquitous, endless power. Yet, many consider it Alternative Energy's ugly kid sister. Not saying fusion won't work or it's not worth it, just saying there may be a far more practical paths to the Electric Economy. Andrew Kubicki April 3, 2012 12:32 AM about time :) Slowburn April 3, 2012 01:59 AM re; RaVOLTSure if you only use power during daylight.While they are chasing the very nice dream of fusion power, let us build some nuclear power plants to give electricity to this generation. Slowburn April 3, 2012 09:16 PM re; Gregg EshelmanLoss of containment promises to be darn spectacular.