This breakthrough could be huge to solving our energy needs for the future. As long as we can keep up the funding for these types of scientific experiments, we could (and need to) greatly decrease our dependency on fossil fuels. From the Sandia Labs News Release
Magnetically imploded tubes called liners, intended to help produce controlled nuclear fusion at scientific “break-even” energies or better within the next few years, have functioned successfully in preliminary tests, according to a Sandia research paper accepted for publication by Physical Review Letters (PRL).
To exceed scientific break-even is the most hotly sought-after goal of fusion research, in which the energy released by a fusion reaction is greater than the energy put into it — an achievement that would have extraordinary energy and defense implications.
The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) also sounds very promising with its anticipated 10 to 1 output/input ratio, but looks like we will have to wait 7 more years for that till 2019. Lets not forget about the National Ignition Facilty either and here is hoping for igniting hydrogen fusion with high energy gain soon.
From the Sandia National Laboratories