Nuclear Power Fusion

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Physics 3.1

Currently in New Zealand some of the main energy sources we use are wind, solar and hydro. These sources are all renewable and provide consistent clean energy to help New Zealand use the "clean and green" line. We cannot, however, hide the fact that only roughly 35%of NZ's energy y comes from renewable energy while the other 65% comes from non-renewable fossil fuels. (Ministry of Economic Development Energy Data File 2011 Sheet A Table 2.) So while our use of renewable resources may be double the global final energy use of 16% renewable energy, it still means that we as a country are releasing an enormous amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. I worked out that per capita New Zealanders emit 39.4% more carbon than the Chinese, whose country is the largest carbon emitter in the world. Hardly a record for our clean green country to be proud of! It is because of this that I believe nuclear fusion energy in New Zealand would be a great idea as a future energy source. Nuclear fusion does not have the same danger/problems as nuclear fission and there are no CO2 emissions from it as no fossil fuels are burnt. It will also be able to produce energy in much larger quantities than renewable sources. Other benefits include: -no fuel needs to be imported as raw material is salt water. -no high level high radioactive waste is produced

-it will create jobs for scientists like Mr Hailstone
-no chance of a meltdown unlike fission reactions
-greater quantity of energy produced

Since the first nuclear fusion plant is unlikely to be operational before 2030, I believe the government has plenty of time to reconsider and amend the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act 1987 which currently prevents any nuclear plants being built on NZ soil.

What is fusion reaction/how will it work in nuclear power?

Nuclear fusion involves the joining together of two atomic nuclei thus fusing them into a single nucleus with a higher atomic number. When this occurs a massive amount of energy is released as a by-product of the reaction. This is how the sun and some other stars create their energy. For this reaction to occur it is necessary to bring the nuclei so close together that the nuclear forces "glue" the nuclei together. This is not to be confused with a fission reaction which is virtually a reverse reaction of a fusion reaction. In a fission reaction a single nuclei is broken apart which also produces a tremendous amount of energy.

The most common type of fusion reaction proposed for fusion energy in the near future is the fusion of two hydrogen isotopes: deuterium (2H) and tritium (3H). It is thought this will be the least difficult fusion reaction to achieve on Earth, and will most likely be the type of reaction first used in fusion generators. The actual reaction involves a deuterium nucleus fusing with a tritium nucleus to form a single alpha particle (4He nucleus) as well a neutron. The products contain around seventeen and a half million electron volts of released kinetic energy through the loss of mass in the fusion process. The loss in mass can be attributed to the nuclear binding energy (the nuclear binding energy is considered as mass.) The missing mass is called mass defect, which is the nuclear energy. To sum it up, mass defect and nuclear binding are the interchangeable terms. 21H + 31H  42He + 10n + 17.6 MeV

To calculate the energy released during mass destruction in fusion we use Einstein's equation of energy and mass E=Δmc2
E= ([Tritium 5.008267x10-27 + deuterium 3.3444943x10-27] – [helium 6.647x10-27 + neutron 1.6749286x10-27]) x [3.00x108]2 E = 2.773943x10-12J = 17.32 MeV

The reaction
In order for a fusion reaction to occur deuterium and tritium must be in the form of plasma, an ionised gas in which there is sufficient energy to allow ions, nuclei and electrons to all coexist. Both reactants need to be placed in extremely high temperatures to go to the fourth state of...
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