Nuclear Fusion — What Is All The Hype About?

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

What is Nuclear Fusion?

Nuclear Fusion creates loads of energy. In technical terms, two lighter atoms join (or fuse) together in extreme temperatures to make one heavy atom. When you look at the sun or the stars in the sky, that is exactly what you see, nuclear fusion in action.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
- Nuclear Fusion was first demonstrated in a laboratory in 1932.
- Nuclear Fusion has been just a couple of decades away from commercialisation since 1955.
- Nuclear fusion is the joining (or fusing) of two larger atoms releasing a huge amount of energy in the process.
- The fuel for a nuclear fusion reactors is Hydrogen and the only by-product would be Helium.
- Nuclear fission produces one million times more energy than coal. Nuclear fusion provides 3-4 times more energy than fission.

Nuclear Fusion Reactor

Nuclear fusion comes with a promise of a solution to the world’s climate change issues. However, there is one technical hurdle that needs to be overcome. For lightweight atoms to fuse and release the energy, they need to be brought together In millions of degrees of heat.

Where does Nuclear Fusion occur?

Nuclear fusion has an exciting past. It all started in 1932 with the first demonstration of fusion in a Laboratory by Mark Oliphant. Fast forward to 2020, the MAST achieved plasma claiming ‘game-changing’ improvements to fusion technology. The story has yet to conclude. It feels like it is only just beginning.

Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash

Nuclear Fission vs Fusion

Nuclear Fusion and Nuclear Fission are physical processes that produce energy from atoms. As described above, Nuclear Fusion occurs when lighter particles join (or fuse). Nuclear Fission occurs when a heavy atom is split. Both create loads of energy.

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Andrew Crabtree

Andrew Crabtree

Husband, Dad, Programme Manager in the Nuclear Industry | ex-pro rugby player, 4x Ironman finisher, ex-Bank Manager | getintonuclear.com