Feeds

UK, US ink boffinry pact on laser fusion 'star power'

Hope for self-powering bucket of sunshine in California

New hybrid storage solutions

Using nuclear fusion – star energy – to power the world's dishwashers, TVs and servers has long been a twinkling in the misty eyes of physicists, but it inched closer to reality this week as the American National Ignition Facility (strap line: "Bringing Star Power To Earth") struck a deal with the UK company AWE and Oxford-based Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

National Ignition Facility laser

The National Ignition facility (NIF) in California – at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – has been using lasers to force together the isotopes and create the fusion needed for the process to work. Scientists there believe they are within years of achieving the goal in the lab and project that the concept could eventually become a commercially viable energy source.

NIF & Photon Science is a principal directorate at the Livermore Lab, and operates the world's largest and most energetic laser. NIF's goal, according to its mission statement, is "achieving nuclear fusion and energy gain in the laboratory for the first time — in essence, creating a miniature star on Earth".

The Rutherford Appleton laboratory – owned and operated by the Science and Technology Facilities Council – is based in Oxford, and describes its mission as "keeping the UK at the forefront of international science and tackling some of the most significant challenges facing society such as meeting our future energy needs, monitoring and understanding climate change, and global security."

Requiring only pellets composed of hydrogen isotopes and producing helium and neutrons, nuclear fusion would provide nuclear power without many of the downsides of nuclear fission – the process that powers our nuclear power plants today – and sweep away many of the current geopolitical energy problems around fossil fuel supplies.

David Willetts, the UK's science minister told the BBC: "I think that what's going on both in the UK and in the US shows that we are now making significant progress on this technology," he said. "It can't any longer be dismissed as something on the far distant horizon." ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Boffins: Behold the SILICON CHEAPNESS of our tiny, radio-signal-munching IoT sensor
Single ant-sized Stanford chip combines radio, 'puter, antenna
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
TROUT and EELS in SINISTER PACT to RULE the oceans
Slimy chums form deadly alliance to sweep seas
Drones swarm over bearded Brit billionaire's island getaway
Just to take lovely pictures though, after Richard Branson invests in 3D Robotics
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
California blue whale numbers soar to historical levels, say boffins
Still far too many of them being struck by US ships, mind
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.