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Did You Know May 6 – 10 is FUSION ENERGY WEEK?

  • By Admin
  • May 7, 2024

While both fission and fusion release energy through nuclear reactions, in its most basic form, fission involves splitting atoms into smaller fragments, while fusion involves combining atoms to form new ones (like what happens on our sun). Here’s a quick tutorial:

Fission Nuclear Energy:
-Nuclear power plants currently operational around the world primarily use fission reactions to generate electricity
-Fission involves splitting the nucleus of an atom into smaller fragments.
-This process typically uses heavy isotopes like uranium-235 or plutonium-239 as fuel.
-In a fission reaction, a neutron collides with a heavy nucleus, causing it to become unstable and split into two or more smaller nuclei, along with the release of additional neutrons and a large amount of energy.
-Fission reactions produce radioactive waste, including long-lived isotopes that require careful storage and disposal.

Fusion Nuclear Energy:
-Fusion involves combining the nuclei of lighter atoms to form heavier ones.
-This process typically uses isotopes of hydrogen, such as deuterium and tritium, as fuel.
-In a fusion reaction, the nuclei of two hydrogen isotopes are forced together at extremely high temperatures and pressures, overcoming their natural repulsion, and merging to form a heavier nucleus, releasing a large amount of energy in the process.
-Fusion reactions produce helium as a byproduct, which is not radioactive.
-Fusion does not produce long-lived radioactive waste like fission, making it potentially safer and more environmentally friendly.
-Achieving practical fusion power on Earth has proven challenging due to the extreme conditions required for the reaction to occur and the difficulty of confining and controlling the hot plasma needed for fusion.

The interest in the use of fusion energy is growing in the U.S. and worldwide. According to the Fusion Industry Association, there are over 40 private fusion companies around the world, 25 of which are headquartered in the U.S., with total investments of $6.2 billion.