Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear fusion is the combining of the two light nuclei to produce a heavier nucleus.

  • A large amount of energy is released during the process because the average binding energy per nucleon of the product has a greater binding energy per nucleon than the two light nuclei before fusion.
  • Fusion is a difficult process to achieve because of the strong electrical repulsion between the nuclei when they are close to each other. Only at extremely high temperatures (~108 K) will the nuclei have enough kinetic energy to overcome the repulsion.
  • Energy released by the fusion of two nuclei is very much less than that which results from fission. However, fusion offers the possibility of energy from almost unlimited fuels, with the key advantage of non-radioactive waste.

Nuclear fission and fusion:

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