9th January 2006 – Nuclear Fission & Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear Fission & Nuclear Fusion – What’s the difference and what’s the issue?

Paul Howarth, from BNFL, has worked for some time on both nuclear fission and nuclear fusion and explained how the two entirely different processes create useable energy and some of the technology issues which have been or need to be overcome in order to practically use either to generate the nation’s energy. e.g. how do we get a star into a bottle and how can we manage nuclear waste? He showed why fusion research was important; every bath full of water contains an eggcup full of heavy water which, via fusion, can develop as much energy as 40 tons of coal.

For homework: work out how many baths full of water there are in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and how many tons of coal we’d need to get the same energy.




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