The BBC is reporting that sometime in late September an experiment was conducted at the Nuclear Ignition Facility (NIF) in which: The BBC understands that during an experiment in late September, the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel - the first time this had been achieved at any fusion facility in the world. This is a step short of the lab's stated goal of "ignition", where nuclear fusion generates as much energy as the lasers supply. This is because known "inefficiencies" in different parts of the system mean not all the energy supplied through the laser is delivered to the fuel. But the latest achievement has been described as the single most meaningful step for fusion in recent years, and demonstrates NIF is well on its way towards the coveted target of ignition and self-sustaining fusion.
Wow. That is amazing to hear. I remember reading articles about their confidence in the upcoming experiments back in July and August, and the guys at NIF have gotten a ton of flack for their cockiness in the past. But wow.
BBC News - Nuclear fusion milestone passed at US lab