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Ignition Failed

How America’s latest attempt at fusion power fizzled

If all goes according to Mike Dunne’s plan, the United States will build its first nuclear fusion power plant by the end of the next decade. Sixteen times a second, as the National Ignition Facility's program director for laser fusion energy envisions it, a two-millimeter-wide capsule of cryogenic hydrogen will drop into a steel chamber and get zapped by a 384-beam laser. Matter will transform into energy, driving a turbine that injects up to a gigawatt of clean power into the electrical grid.

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