The United States’ Department of Energy announced what it called a “major scientific breakthrough” involving a successful attempt to create nuclear fusion that some believe could be “transformative” for humanity. If this all sounds familiar, it’s because nuclear fusion of this type was a plot point of 2004’s Spider-Man 2, but here’s to hoping things go better in real life.
In an announcement streamed live (watch it below), Department of Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm confirmed that researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California created what is called “net energy gain” for the first time recently. This is the term for when the fusion reactor produced more energy than was used to ignite it, according to the Associated Press. This is a major breakthrough in efforts to creating clean power and other scientific advancements, though no one’s home will run on energy produced by fusion anytime soon.
The appeal of nuclear fusion as an energy source is that it can create carbon-free energy on a nearly limitless basis, helping move away from fossil fuel sources that can be bad for the environment and costly. It also doesn’t create radioactive waste like traditional nuclear reactions do.