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Nuclear Fusion

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by AndrewYe1
Last updated 2 months ago

Discipline:
Science
Subject:
Energy & Environment
Grade:
6

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Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear Fusion

So should we build a fusion power plant? You may think that building a mini-sun on Earth may be catastrophic, but it isn't actually that bad. A failed confinement will have the plasma expand out and cooled. Another threat was that tritium could leak out of tanks that store them. They can bind with oxygen to form radioactive water that can pose a threat to the enviroment. Though there is only a few kilograms of them in the world so a leak can be quickly diluted. So should we use fusion energy? If it is achieved, we can have limitless free energy just from plain old water.

Introduction

Nuclear Fusion is the process of having two atomic nuclei to fuse together to create another atom. The two nuclei has to move very fast, so fast that the electrons where stripped from their nuclei. This produces plasma. Since nuclei have the same electric charges, they repel each other. In order to overcome repulsion, the nuclei has to be moving even faster to achieve fusion. The sun achieved this by having gravity compress the atoms together until the heat and pressure was so high that fusion occurs. There are two types of fusion plants that can work. The magnetic and inertial confinement. The magnetic confinement works by having extremely strong and complex neodymium magnets squeeze the plasma together while radiation "guns" heat the plasma to almost 100 million degrees farenheit! Inertial confinement works by having a UV and Infrared lasers shoot at a fuel pellet to create X-Rays that made the fuel implode and hot and dense enough to fuse. If nuclear fusion could have ever worked, it would be far less deadly than other power plants and there will be almost limitless fuel to supply our energy needs.

Regular hydrogen won't work in fusion. Specific isotopes with extra neutrons was DEUTERIUM and TRITIUM. Deuterium is pretty abundent in just a glass of water but tritium is radioactive and is extremely rare on earth. They are found mostly in thermonuclear bombs so are extremely expensive. There is a substitude for tritium, HELIUM-3. They are stable and they can be used for fusion. Unfortunatly they are also extremely rare on Earth. Yet the moon may hold the answer. Over billions of years, the solar wind may have build up deposits of Helium-3 on the moon. Instead of making it, we can mine it. Another problem is cost. A fusion reactor can cost up to 7 billion dollars in the U.S. alone. we didn't know if we can even afford enough to power the entire nation yet without using billions of dollars. Even though if we achieve fusion, they only last a few seconds.

Nuclear Fusion

Problems With Nuclear Fusion

Conclusion

Electricity is what power our homes, computers, and any other things that run on electricity. We can get it in lots of ways: burning fossil fuels, splitting atoms, or having sunlight strike on solar cells. However, there's a downside to everything. Fossil Fuels speed up climate change, nuclear fission creates radioactive wastes, and there aren't enough batteries to store solar power on cloudy days...yet the sun seems to have limitless amount of energy. Is there a way we can contain a tiny sun or more importantly create one. Is this even possible?

Sources:http://www.ccfe.ac.uk/tokamak.aspxhttp://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/NucEne/fusion.htmlhttps://lasers.llnl.gov/science/icfhttps://www.iter.org/sci/FusionFuelshttp://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/current-and-future-generation/nuclear-fusion-power.aspx


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