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Fission & fusion (site)

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  • 1. Nuclear Fission / Fusion
  • 2. As we have learned more about the structure in atoms, humans have devised ways to harness/use the energy contained in them.
  • 3. Nuclear fusion occurs when two nuclei collide and merge to form a single atom. Some of the matter is converted to energy, so matter is not conserved. The sun is a fusion reactor. The light/heat we experience is the result of H atoms combining to form He.
  • 4. Fusion reactors are an ideal source of renewable energy, however the technology has not been developed to contain or control the reactions. Fusion reactors could replace our need for fossil fuels.
  • 5. Nuclear fission is a process where atoms are split apart and energy is released. In the right example, a neutron is used to create a Uranium isotope, which is highly unstable. So, it immediately splits into smaller particles and releases large amounts of energy.
  • 6. Fission is controlled in nuclear power plants in order to produce electricity. Once a fission reaction is started, water flow absorbs the heat energy and is carried away. Neutron catchers control the reaction and prevent it from ‘getting out of control.’
  • 7. Controlled Nuclear Fission
  • 8. Lead-lined concrete is used to prevent any excess radiation from leaking in to the environment. It also contains excess heat that is produced.
  • 9. In 1986, the Chernobyl disaster occurred in Ukraine. A fire and large explosion in a nuclear power plant spread radioactive particles into the atmosphere and local areas. As a result, many died from radiation poisoning and the surrounding area was uninhabitable.
  • 10. Due to residual radiation, children and animals conceived in the area experienced increased rates of genetic mutation. Very little footage is available from the location itself, as radiation interfered with the film. Effects of the explosion are still experienced today.
  • 11. Uncontrolled fission results in massive explosions of energy, which is what is used in atomic fission bombs.