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Fusion Energy Breakthrough is Huge, But Other Uses Will Come First

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Tom Still: Fusion energy breakthrough is huge, but other uses will come first

The running joke among scientists and others engaged in nuclear fusion research is that genuine progress toward producing energy is 20 years away … and has been stuck 20 years out for decades.

The breakthrough announced Dec. 13 by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California may mean fusion has reached a point where commercial energy production is closer to a “hard” 20 years away versus a perpetually moving target.

In the meantime, expect other uses of fusion in industrial and medical science to produce results much sooner — and in places as close to home as Rock County.

Greg Piefer, founder and chief executive officer of SHINE Technologies in Janesville, heads a company that recently recorded its first profitable quarter in industrial imaging products and may be within a year of producing essential medical isotopes on a massive scale. He thinks the Livermore “milestone” is a step toward clean energy that could power mankind for eons … but not next week, year or decade.

Read the full article here.