Experimental Reactor -Harnessing Energy from Nuclear Fusion


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The primary source of our energy is the sun. Thus, life on the planet earth exists because of the sun. Therefore, the sun is the creator of life.

What is the secret of the continuous release of energy? Scientist says that nuclear fusion reaction occurs continuously throughout the outer and inner surface of the sun.

What is nuclear fusion?

It’s a process in which elements such as hydrogen, deuterium, tritium get fuses. The fusion of such elements releases an enormous amount of energy. Accompanied by a few heavier isotopes. But, the nuclear fusion reactions occur at a very high temperature (108 0K)

However, nuclear fusion reactions occur continuously and automatically in the sun.

We may present the overall fusion reaction in the sun as follows.

4 1H→  2He4  +  2 +1e0  + 27.67  MeV

In this reaction, some mass gets converted into energy. Thus, it releases an enormous amount of energy.

Scientist has always been trying to mimic the reactions that occur in nature. Similarly, they are trying to carry out the fusion reaction in the laboratory. To study such a process in the laboratory, we have to attain a very high temperature (108 0K). We have to use energy to do so. Even today, no experiment has generated more energy than has been put in.

When we achieve such technology, civilization will get very cheap and clean energy. With no pollution. Because plenty of hydrogen is available from the water. 

 Tritium is a rare radioactive isotope of hydrogen. When this isotope fuses with the isotope of deuterium, the reaction produces many more neutrons. Hence, this increases the release of more energy. They may use this reaction in future power plants.

The design of future fusion power plants

The construction of the power plant

Plasma

The elements such as hydrogen, deuterium are heated in the fusion chamber by passing electric current. As the temperature rises, ionization occurs. Ionization results in the formation of positive and negative ions. We call this type of mixture plasma.

The fusion reaction occurs at about 108 0K. We cannot attain this much temperature only by passing electric current. Hence, after passing the current, a magnetic field is applied. The pressure into the plasma increases due to the magnetic field. Thus, this increases the temperature.

Laser technology may be used to achieve a higher temperature.

Lithium blanket

For the following nuclear fusion reaction, tritium is very important.

D +T  →  2He4  +  n  + 17.6  MeV

 Bombarding of Neutrons on lithium produces tritium. The wall of the fusion chamber contains a thin layer of lithium. (Lithium blanket)

Thermal & Neutron Shield

This layer consists of heat-resistant & refractory substances such as Niobium, Vanadium, or Molybdenum. This wall also contains substances that absorb excess neutrons.

Magnetic coil

Magnetic coil increases the pressure of plasma. Hence, on increasing pressure, the temperature increases.

Scientists are planning to schedule fusion experiments in the future at ITER- International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor.


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