A group of California researchers say they've taken a key step toward harnessing nuclear fusion as a new way to generate power.
Although admittedly a long way from a workable fusion power system, the scientists say the breakthrough involves using lasers to start the nuclear fusion reaction.
Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the sun.
Among several advantages over today's power sources are a cleaner and cheaper source of electricity.
"We are closer than anyone has gotten before," lead author Omar Hurricane, a plasma physicist, said.
Scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory near San Francisco conducted the study, which was published online Wednesday by the journal Nature.