National Ignition Facility (NIF) achieves fusion break-even "...The latest achievement has been described as the single most meaningful step for fusion in recent years, and demonstrates NIF is well on its way towards the coveted target of ignition and self-sustaining fusion."
A plan submitted to congress sets a new course for the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. "If the National Ignition Facility does not achieve ignition by the end of fiscal year 2012 using a cryogenically layered deuterium and tritium target that produces a neutron yield with a gain greater than 1, the Committee directs NNSA to submit a report (PDF) by November 30, 2012 that (1) explains the scientific and technical barriers to achieving ignition, (2) the steps NNSA will take to achieve ignition with a revised schedule, and (3) the impact on the stockpile stweardship program." [more inside]
A baby star on Earth. The NIF (National Ignition Facility) is about to fire up lasers to demonstrate the real world possibility of nuclear fusion with a positive energy gain. BBC link with promo video narrated by Samuel L. Jackson. Also: previously.
The largest and most powerful laser facility ever designed is currently being constructed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, CA. I had an opportunity to tour this facility earlier this year, and the sheer magnitude of this engineering project is staggering. The precision required for ignition has been compared to "trying to hit the strike zone with a baseball from 350 miles away". Although the scientists and politicians responsible for the National Ignition Facility claim it will help lessen the danger of nuclear weapons, many critics argue it is merely an attempt to work around certain non-proliferation treaties.