Breakthrough on Nuclear Fusion

Don't let it get away!

Keep track of the stocks that matter to you.

Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.

This article was written by -- the leading provider of energy news in the world. Also check out this recent article:

Scientists made a major breakthrough in the quest for the ultimate energy source: fusion. Reports from the National Ignition Facility (NIF) indicate that scientists generated more power out than was put in, a long sought after goal for the development of fusion. The NIF uses giant lasers to shoot a fuel pellet made up of hydrogen. Unlike conventional nuclear power that uses energy from splitting atoms, fusion energy forces atoms to fuse together, with energy as a byproduct.

Fusion energy has been seen as the Holy Grail for energy. It theoretically could provide the world with endless amounts of clean baseload energy. The fuel source – hydrogen isotopes – would be limitless and available to all countries. It would not have the long-lived radioactive byproducts that nuclear fission experiences. And there is a negligible chance of a meltdown issue, as there isn't a runaway chain reaction like with fission.

But fusion is really difficult to do. Located within the Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL), the NIF has been working on fusion for years, but progress has been frustratingly slow. The problem has been that when shooting the 2 millimeterwide fuel pellet, it wouldn't crush symmetrically. This limited how much energy the scientists could realistically achieve. In 2012 Congress narrowed the NIF's mission, a rebuke for failing to achieve its much-hyped goals of reaching "ignition," the point at which the fusion reaction becomes self-sustaining.

The latest progress at the NIF is significant, but the point at which fusion can become a realistic power source remains decades away. Fusion scientists and engineers are confident they can build a practical power plant sometime in the future, but the economics are highly uncertain. One of the main obstacles to future progress will be budget constraints, although after years of suffering budget cuts, Congress increased the fusion 2014 budget by $100 million.

Getting in on the ground floor
Let's face it, every investor wants to get in on revolutionary ideas before they hit it big. Like buying PC-maker Dell in the late 1980's, before the consumer computing boom. Or purchasing stock in e-commerce pioneer in late 1990's, when they were nothing more than an upstart online bookstore. The problem is, most investors don't understand the key to investing in hyper-growth markets. The real trick is to find a small-cap "pure-play", and then watch as it grows in EXPLOSIVE lock-step with it's industry. Our expert team of equity analysts has identified 1 stock that's poised to produce rocket-ship returns with the next $14.4 TRILLION industry. Click here to get the full story in this eye-opening report.


Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 5:37 PM, jameswmakepeace wrote:

    If ever an article was written by an interest group that is scared of what fusion energy will bring, this has to be it !

    Fusion energy will not only be clean, safe and dependable for the truly long term (which fossil fuels are not) but, when it is mastered, (which is close to happening, it will rapidly change the geopolitical map of our world and the outlook for mankind and every other living creature on our earth.

    How crudely this article attempts to dismiss laser driven inertial confinement fusion as it approaches full proof of principle at the Livermore Laboratory !

    The 2012 amendment to the NIF mission was not a rebuke, it was a recognition that the narrowly imposed "deadline" of September 2012 for achievement of "breakeven" was nothing more than an accountant's artificial "line in the sand", drawn with no more understanding of the scientific realities than any government accountant could be expected to have of the intricacies of nuclear physics.

    Exactly one year after that "deadline" expired, the National Ignition Facility lasers achieved exactly what had been intended and delivered scientific proof of principle, from which point the challenge is now being taken up, to raise the energy output to commercially viable levels.

    Further laser shots have already achieved very significant increases along this path and it must now be recognised that laser fusion is close to achieving what is termed "first ignition" of a fully burning plasma in controlled fusion driven by lasers.

    The goals are not "much hyped" as the article states... the goals are absolutely clear... to achieve commercially viable fusion, first on an experimental basis and subsequently with a prototype power plant which can prove that commercially meaningful energy can be fed to the grid.

    It is also rash to state that "the economics are highly uncertain"... once the physics has been conquered, the refinement of this process will make the economics very clear indeed.

    Little wonder that the fossil fuel industry is scared of fusion energy... Rightly so !

    Fusion will change the way we generate energy on our planet, giving our terribly-damaged environment a desperately needed break (just in time) from the ravages of two centuries' intensive burning of fossil fuels.

    Those in the energy business who are smart enough to invest earliest in laser fusion energy will reap the rewards, while those who cling to the old ways and try to pretend this advance isn't happening will wish they had been a little more courageous and savvy when the opportunity was staring them in the face.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 6:41 PM, stockanal45 wrote:

    Jameswmakepeace, where do you get your information about fusion energy? I would like to learn more about it.

  • Report this Comment On February 16, 2014, at 11:18 PM, bigfoot wrote:

    Ignition? Go to Bikin Atoll.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 12:17 AM, predfern wrote:

    Breeder reactors are a much better bet since they already exist and are a proven technology. The Argonne breeder worked flawlessly for 30 years because it used double walled tubes for the sodium coolant and a conservative reactor design. Extracting uranium from seawater will give us plenty of energy for 2 billion years at which time the sun will gobble us up. Thorium molten salt reactors are OK but have much less breeding. Breeder reactors can use the nuclear waste from current reactors and with reprocessing the small amount of waste left over is only radioactive for a few hundred years. Yucca mountain is obsolete. If you want fusion then mining the moon for Helium 3 is the way to go. It involves a much safer and more efficient fusion reaction and produces the usual Helium 4 that we use here on earth for industrial processes as a by product.

  • Report this Comment On February 17, 2014, at 5:13 PM, PackofCardsJK wrote:

    In terms of small cap pure plays, NIF is a government facility so there's no opportunity to invest in them.

    There are a few private companies pursuing Nuclear Fusion such as General Fusion

    But it's a private company and it's not yet listed on the stock market.

    Oh well maybe some time in the future some publicly listed fusion companies might appear...

  • Report this Comment On February 18, 2014, at 2:43 AM, buckfinster wrote:

    Fusion researchers have been lying to the public for scores of years; each time saying that they're only 15 years away from break-even or ignition. They're really just a bunch of welfare queens in white coats to like to keep the money flowing ... and they've really never produced anything of value for mankind. Super frauds is what they are.

  • Report this Comment On July 05, 2015, at 12:58 AM, docdhs wrote:

    The claim that achieving at least some fusion using lasers has never been done before is a complete LIE. In 1974 a private company, KMS Fusion achieved achieved laser fusion ignition using ONE laser. This is well documented but never referred to by government scientist because the company was harassed to death by the jealousies of government funded labs and government agencies who wanted to control ALL nuclear research. GOOGLE KMS Fusion if you do not believe this. Forty years of research and development opportunities have been wasted by the government death by a thousand cuts of KMS Fusion.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2840032, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/2/2015 6:08:38 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Oilprice is the leading provider of energy news in the world. We cover developments in all energy sectors from oil and gas to solar and hydro. Our analysis and news pieces look at the investment landscape, energy geopolitics, new technology, opportunities and energy company news. Find out more at

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,351.38 293.03 1.82%
S&P 500 1,948.86 35.01 1.83%
NASD 4,749.98 113.87 2.46%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes