Nuclear Fusion Energy over Nuclear Fission Energy

Topics: Nuclear fusion, Nuclear fission, Fusion power Pages: 2 (680 words) Published: May 25, 2012
Nuclear Fusion Energy Over Nuclear Fission Energy

Nuclear energy must be considered for the future with the supply of fossil fuels being rapidly depleted. This type of energy can be created one of two ways, by either nuclear fission or nuclear fusion. Nuclear fission is the splitting of a heavy atom into two or more parts, releasing a large amount of energy. This release of energy can be controlled and harvested to generate electricity. Nuclear fusion involves bombarding hydrogen atoms together to form helium. In the end, nuclear fusion has a greater potential than that of nuclear fission. Cost and availability of fuel is a considerab;e factor when dealing with nuclear power. Fission requires an element that can be easily split in a particle accelerator, for example uranium or plutonium. On the other hand, fusion uses isotopes of hydrogen atoms, specifically deuterium and tritium, which can be obtained from ordinary water. Uranium ore occurs naturally in many parts of the world, however it must go through a costly purification process before it can be used as fuel. This unprocessed ore contains about 99.3% uranium-238, a non-fissionable isotope of uranium, and about 0.7% of U-235 that is required for fission. One hydrogen atom out of 6,700 appears as deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen containing an extra neutron that occurs naturally and can be separated from the rest. Uranium-235 is a non-renewable resource that will run out evenutally, just like other fossil fuels. The abundance of deuterium and lithium provide virtually an unlimited supply of fuel for nuclear fusion. For this reason, nuclear fusion seems to be a better choice. Secondly, the potential amount of energy produced by fusion can immensely outweigh that of fission. Initially, there were some disadvantages to fusion. The time and money that were required to develop the technology needed to initiate, contain, and sustain a profitable fusion reaction is costly, but the development is still in its...
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