Nuclear Fusion: Inside the breakthrough that could change our world

Last month, the nearest star to the Earth was in California. In a laboratory, for the first time, the world's largest lasers forced atoms of hydrogen to fuse together in the

same kind of energy producing reaction that fires the sun. It lasted less than a billionth of a second. But, after six decades of toil and failure, the Lawrence Livermore National

Laboratory proved it could be done. If fusion becomes commercial power one day, it would be endless and carbon free. In other words, it would change human destiny. As you'll see,

there's far to go. But after December's breakthrough, we were invited to tour the lab and meet the team that brought star power down to Earth. Uncontrolled fusion is

easy--mastered so long ago the films are in black and white. Fusion is what a hydrogen bomb does, releasing energy by forcing atoms of hydrogen to fuse together. What's been

impossible is harnessing the fires of Armageddon into something useful.  The U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory helps maintain nuclear

weapons and experiments with high-energy physics. An hour east of San Francisco, we met Livermore's director, Kim Budil, in the lab that made history, the National Ignition

Facility.  Kim Budil: The National Ignition Facility is the world's largest, most energetic laser. It was built starting in the 1990s, to create conditions in the laboratory

that had previously only been accessible in the most extreme objects in the universe, like the center of giant planets, or the sun, or in operating nuclear weapons. And the goal

was to really be able to study that kind of very high-energy, high-density condition in a lot of detail.