A color-enhanced image of the inside of a NIF preamplifier support structure.

DOE National Laboratory Makes History by Achieving Fusion Ignition

“The achievement of fusion breakeven from our colleagues at NIF marks an important milestone on the path to fusion energy. For the first time, more energy has been produced from fusion reactions than inputted into the target. This result has been enabled through persistent research and technology advancements over the past years and reflects the U.S. commitment to develop fusion energy. At NC State Nuclear Engineering, we are collaborating with the National Fusion Research User Facilities, providing technology advancements and scientific understanding of plasmas, which are needed for fusion. Moreover, we are performing plasma computational modeling and using plasma technology to create the next generation of semiconductor manufacturing devices, to build innovative plasma diagnostics and to research biomedical applications”. 

 – Dr. Florian Laggner, Assistant Professor
NC State University Department of Nuclear Engineering

Drs. Florian Laggner & Steven Shannon speak with ABC11 on this breakthrough (videos below)


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced the achievement of fusion ignition at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)—a major scientific breakthrough decades in the making that will pave the way for advancements in national defense and the future of clean power. On December 5, a team at LLNL’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) conducted the first controlled fusion experiment in history to reach this milestone, also known as scientific energy breakeven, meaning it produced more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to drive it. This historic, first-of-its kind achievement will provide unprecedented capability to support NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program and will provide invaluable insights into the prospects of clean fusion energy, which would be a game-changer for efforts to achieve President Biden’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy.

“This is a landmark achievement for the researchers and staff at the National Ignition Facility who have dedicated their careers to seeing fusion ignition become a reality, and this milestone will undoubtedly spark even more discovery,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting our world-class scientists—like the team at NIF—whose work will help us solve humanity’s most complex and pressing problems, like providing clean power to combat climate change and maintaining a nuclear deterrent without nuclear testing.”

“We have had a theoretical understanding of fusion for over a century, but the journey from knowing to doing can be long and arduous. Today’s milestone shows what we can do with perseverance,” said Dr. Arati Prabhakar, the President’s Chief Advisor for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“Monday, December 5, 2022, was a historic day in science thanks to the incredible people at Livermore Lab and the National Ignition Facility. In making this breakthrough, they have opened a new chapter in NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program,” said NNSA Administrator Jill Hruby. “I would like to thank the members of Congress who have supported the National Ignition Facility because their belief in the promise of visionary science has been critical for our mission. Our team from around the DOE national laboratories and our international partners have shown us the power of collaboration.”

Click here for full article.

Click here for ABC11 DeJuan Hoggard in discussion with Drs. Laggner & Shannon, reporting from the control room of another fusion facility (DIII-D in San Diego).