Describe and Evaluate the Advantages and Disadvantages of Nuclear Fission vs Fusion

Topics: Nuclear fusion, Nuclear fission, Nuclear power Pages: 2 (506 words) Published: February 4, 2013
Describe and Evaluate the Use of Nuclear Fusion and Fission
Atoms contain large amounts of energy with the ability to be released in two ways. One of these ways is to join Nuclei together in a process called nuclear fusion and another way is to split atomic nuclei in a process called nuclear fission. Though there are many arguments in favour and against both, nuclear fission currently holds the upper hand as a nuclear fusion reactor is yet to be formed. Nuclear fission occurs when a stable isotope is hit by a neutron causing the isotope to absorb it, making it unstable and splitting it apart releasing huge amounts of energy. Nuclear fission is currently used for nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors, examples of isotopes that can undergo the process are Uranium235 and Plutonium 239. Advantages of Nuclear fission are that it doesn’t release carbon emissions or greenhouse gasses; it’s cheap to run once stations are built and the used nuclear fuel can contain Uranium which can be separated from the waste to be removed. However, there are some disadvantages though, such as, it produces long-lasting radioactive waste (creating long term effects for future generations), is expensive to build new power stations and there is also a risk of uncontrolled chain reactions throughout. Overall, taking into account its ability to cause a reduction in greenhouse gases it could be a very useful process but its unfortunate big downfall remains its radioactive waste. This would mean removing the threat of greenhouse issues but creating a greater problem of radioactive waste which would defeat the aim of its use, thus it is, as a whole, an unhelpful and useless process of energy production. Nuclear fusion occurs all the time but in outer space at very high temperatures and pressures, highlighting its current inability to be recreated on earth. The fusion happens when small nuclei join together to form larger nuclei and energy is then released, i.e. Hydrogen nuclei join together to...
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