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August 17, 2021

Congresswomen Johnson and Lofgren Congratulate National Ignition Facility on Major Milestone Toward Fusion Ignition

(Washington, DC) – Today, Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) in Livermore, CA announced that an experiment at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) “made a significant step toward ignition, achieving a yield of more than 1.3 megajoules (MJ). This advancement puts researchers at the threshold of fusion ignition, an important goal of the NIF, and opens access to a new experimental regime. The experiment was enabled by focusing laser light from NIF — the size of three football fields — onto a target the size of a BB that produces a hot-spot the diameter of a human hair, generating more than 10 quadrillion watts of fusion power for 100 trillionths of a second.”

“I would like to congratulate the dedicated researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, as well as their partners at Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, the University of Rochester, General Atomics, and others throughout the country who worked to support this effort over several decades,” said Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). “This result is an astounding achievement for the U.S. fusion research community, and it did not happen overnight. It is a testament to the breakthrough possibilities that can be reached through patient, diligent adherence to the scientific process and through steady, substantial investments in the people that carry out this work. While there was very good reason to do this sooner, I hope that the Department will now take this opportunity to fully implement the fusion research provisions recently authorized in the Energy Act of 2020, and before that in the Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act. Among other important provisions, these laws include direction to the Department to establish an inertial fusion research program for energy applications, which would leverage the expertise developed at the National Ignition Facility and elsewhere to explore the potential for significant new pathways to our clean energy future.”

"Today, I am celebrating this game-changing advancement. On the threshold of a path toward non-polluting, limitless fusion energy, this promises opportunities to effectively deal with the worst effects of climate change," said Rep. Lofgren (CA-19). "I congratulate the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and the many scientists whose efforts over the years made this possible."

She added, "I am proud to have long led the fight in Congress to prioritize strong and sustained funding for NIF. Now, Congress must reaffirm our commitment to this research and accelerate our country's efforts to translate fusion science into commercially-available power."

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