To create fusion ignition, the National Ignition Facility’s laser energy is converted into X-rays inside the hohlraum, which then compress a fuel capsule until it implodes, creating a high-temperature, high-pressure plasma. Image: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Nuclear fusion is back in the news. This week, the US Department of Energy announced what it called a “major scientific breakthrough” in fusion power research: for the first time, a fusion experiment had produced more energy than the energy used to kick off the reaction. It’s not the first time we’ve heard about fusion progress. There have been decades of headlines touting breakthroughs large and small, usually implying that we’re closer than ever to generating all the clean energy we’ll ever need from nuclear fusion.

A “major scientific breakthrough” in fusion power research

It’s a lot to take in, so The Verge put together this guide to fusion power with the help of some experts. Below, we’ve summarized scientists’ dreams for fusion,…

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