• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Current Research in Nuclear Fusion Power and Its Place in Future Electricity Production.

Extracts from this document...


Current Research in Nuclear Fusion Power and Its Place in Future Electricity Production Introduction Nuclear fusion is a process where two lighter atomic nuclei fuse, forming a heavier nucleus and releasing energy. The type of nuclear fusion currently being researched most vigorously in the context of forming a future source of power is the fusion of two isotopes of hydrogen - deuterium and tritium, forming helium and a neutron and releasing large amounts of energy. = Neutron = Proton Deuterium Nucleus Neutron (+14.1 MeV) Tritium Nucleus Helium Nucleus (+3.5 MeV) Figure 1 This can be described by the equation H + H ==> He + n, yielding 17.6 MeV per fusion. Another fusion reaction which is possible is the fusion of two deuterium nuclei, though this yields less energy and is not generally being pursued as a source of power in future reactors. It is described by the equation H + H ==> He + n, yielding 3.3 MeV per fusion. A central concept in understanding the origin of this extra energy is the equivalence of mass and energy. The strong nuclear force binds together protons and neutrons in the nucleus, it is very strong over short distances hence it overcomes the electromagnetic repulsion of protons in the nucleus. The energy that is required to hold to hold the nucleus together can be thought of as adding to its mass. Hence the mass of a deuterium nucleus is higher than the mass of its individual components when isolated - one proton and one neutron, and hence energy must be put in for them to bind together by the strong nuclear force. Hence also energy is released when they are taken apart. ...read more.


For the moment I will focus largely on JET and the methods it uses, as it has made many advances during its twenty year lifetime. Indeed as JET is currently the largest tokamak reactor ever built, ITER will be two to three times as large when it is completed, it is closest to ITER and it is hoped that smaller scale experiments will continue to be run there alongside ITER - which should become operational around 2020. Other projects worldwide, which have now largely ceased, include TFTR in America, JT-60 in Japan as well as smaller projects around the world in Brazil, Australia, India and many other countries. The two other ways of containing the plasma and thus making fusion possible are gravitational and inertial. Gravitational containment takes place in stars and is not currently possible on earth nor is it likely ever to be due to the large gravitational fields that would need to be created. Inertial containment uses intense lasers to compress a solid pellet of deuterium and tritium to around a thousand times normal solid density and heating it at the same time, thus forcing fusion by the extreme compression and heat. However this method is inherently unstable and difficult to predict and control, and many predict that only around a 10% efficiency would be achievable, thus little research has been conducted in this area. JET has been operational since 1983 and is the largest tokamak reactor ever built. Below to the left is a cutaway drawing of the JET reactor showing the magnets and the chamber. To the right is a picture of the inside of the chamber, taken in 2001. Figure 3 Figure 4 The apparatus is approximately 12 metres high and 15 metres in diameter. ...read more.


Given that fusion has been sustained for several seconds already, and given the precise and promising theory behind it, it seems only a matter of time and money before fusion is providing our electricity. It is not as simple as solving the problems of nuclear fusion to implement it, there are many economic and political factors to account for. Many countries rely on the export of oil and coal and the world economy would alter significantly with the introduction of fusion. Indeed one could argue that funding for fusion research, whilst significant, is not as high as one would have thought given the benefits it would bring because of these changes fusion would bring to the world order, possibly destabilising economies and governments. However one would hope that regardless of such worries fusion would allow the world to have cheap, clean and limitless power within 50 years. Indeed, the world would seem to be a better place without the stranglehold oil exports and imports have over the world economy and global politics. I feel I have produced a good and concise report which explains nuclear fusion, how it is achieved and how it is hoped electricity will be produced from it. I have summarised the current level of research and what is hoped from the future. I have analysed other sources of electricity, and the merits of fusion in comparison. I believe I have satisfied the requirements of the coursework, and have crossed different areas of physics in my report from particle physics, electromagnets and the general topic of electromagnetic machines such as generators, and have discussed energy changes and the equivalence of mass and energy. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Energy, Respiration & the Environment section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Energy, Respiration & the Environment essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Fighter Pilot A Statistical Analysis of Reaction time and its Correlation with Dominant ...

    5 star(s)

    Lower Confidence Limits = X - (t x standard error of the mean) t value is taken from critical value tables at a 0.05 probability and N - 1 degrees of freedom Table 8 Calculated data from both samples Subjects Time in seconds (s)

  2. Marked by a teacher

    To make sure we have plenty of energy in the future, it's up to ...

    4 star(s)

    Once they are gone they are gone. So, it's best to not waste fossil fuels. They are not renewable; they can't really be made again. We can save fossil fuels by conserving energy. We'll learn more about saving energy in.

  1. Yeast Coursework

    After the optimum temperature is reached, the active site denatures, and the respiration rate of the yeast decreases. Evaluation The procedure went well, and all obtained results appear to be accurate, reliable, and support my prediction. This experiment worked well and my aim of discovering how varying the temperature, of

  2. Field trip report Mangrove ecosystem

    This facilitated it from hiding under the muddy soil. Gafrarium tumidum Roding ? Phylum: Mollusca Class: Bivalvia Order: Veneroida Family: Veneridae iv. Lunella coronata granulata Gmelin: It is found near the tide line. Its shell is flatten, with large body whorl inflated base as well as round operculum. Lunella coronata granulata Gmelin ?

  1. Why the Body Needs Energy? Every living cell within the ...

    * Blood flows into the pulmonary artery. * This branches immediately, carrying blood to the right and left lungs. * Here the blood gives up carbon dioxide and takes on a fresh supply of oxygen. * The capillary beds of the lungs are drained by venues that are the tributaries of the pulmonary veins.

  2. the Effect of Copper Ions on a

    spotting well since varying iodine concentrations and volumes could result in different colour observation. 6. Time- Every 10 seconds a sample of the solution will be removed from the test tube and placed in the spotting well. The time will be kept constant.

  1. African Trypanosomiasis aka African Sleeping Sickness

    The final step includes determining how far the disease has progressed ? what stage it is at. This can be done through analysing the result cerebrospinal fluid tests. Using the results, the method of treatment is decided. A problem with the diagnosis procedure is that it requires highly trained professionals and major investment.

  2. Malaria Issue Report

    can now be made available anywhere.[12] The reliability of RDTs is a successful diagnostic reading of 80% or in other words; 4 out of 5 people tested for malaria get a correct result back.[13] Implications of the solutions to the problem There are a number of solutions to malaria, although they do have economic and environmental implications.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work