'Game-changing step in energy': US scientists to announce 'historic fusion discovery'

Does the space age begin with your nuclear fusion?

US scientists are expected to announce a "historic discovery" that nuclear fusion can use as an energy source.

According to the Financial Times, the first nuclear fusion experiment with "net energy gain" was carried out by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

The invention has been considered a milestone in nuclear fusion research since the 1950s.  Sources familiar with the research results said the reaction produced 1.2 times as much energy as had been put forth at one point in the past two weeks.

No more energy could be produced than was consumed by the reaction until now.  Official sources declined to comment further on the preliminary data; however, US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm is expected to announce the results of the fusion experiment at a press conference tomorrow.

'game-changing' step in energy

Huge sums of money are spent making nuclear fusion a viable alternative to other more polluting energy sources.  The process involves striking two atoms together at very high speeds, as in the reaction that powers the sun, and then using that energy to generate electricity.

Proponents of this method argue that it can power millions of homes without producing carbon emissions or hazardous nuclear waste.

"If this fusion energy invention is true, it could be a game changer for the world," said Ted Lieu, a member of the US Congress from California, in his Twitter message after the discovery over the weekend.