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What does it mean for clean power?

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California scientists have achieved a major advance in fusion energy, a technology that could potentially provide clean, carbon-free power in years to come, the Department of Energy announced Tuesday.

The breakthrough was made Dec. 5 at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility, 50 miles east of San Francisco. The work uses giant lasers to create heat and pressure close to that found in the sun, enough to drive atoms together, releasing tremendous energy.  

The advance described Tuesday was that researchers have been able to create more energy in the process than they put into it, what’s known as “ignition.” In a news conference, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm described it as a “fusion breakthrough” that  “will go down in the history books.” 

“It’s a scientific milestone,” said Arati Prabhakar, directo of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “It’s also an engineering marvel beyond belief.”

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