Following a big breakthrough in fusion energy this past December, the Biden administration is pumping funds to fusion startups working to achieve a pilot-scale demonstration of energy produced through nuclear fusion “within a decade.” Fusion is often considered to be a nearly limitless source of clean energy that does not produce the radioactive waste that is a byproduct of the nuclear fission power plants operating today. Fusion merges atoms; fission tears them apart.

The Energy Department selected eight companies and a diverse set of technologies for this round of nuclear fusion funding; one uses a device called a tokamak to confine hot plasma and smash atmos together. In December, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory achieved fusion ignition, or a net energy gain, which was a major milestone not previously achieved in a laboratory setting.

“This showed that fusion is a possible source of clean energy for humanity and that fusion science has reached a level of maturity to support the premise of that vision to accelerate efforts in the engineering development of a fusion pilot plant,” the DOE said in a press release. (The Verge, Axios)