The sun is known to produce a lot of energy inform of heat and light. The sun produces approximately 4×1026 watts per second. It derives its energy from the fusion of the hydrogen atoms within its core. Fusion occurs when light nuclei such as hydrogen nuclei join together into heavier nuclei, like those of helium.
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Fusion entails the joining of nucleus in positively charged particles. This involves overcoming the force of repulsion that exists between two similar charges. Fusion occurs when positively charged nuclei come close together at a distance of approximately 10-13 centimeters apart.
Subsequently, a strong nuclear force which is more powerful than the electric force takes over sticking the nuclei together. For fusion to take place, high temperatures as well as high densities are necessary to make the nuclei get close together. At high temperatures, nuclei move faster at a pace that allows the nuclei to be driven closer together and eventually merges (Culham Centre for Fusion Energy 2). High densities make sure that there are sufficient nuclei within a small volume in order for collisions to occur.
The only place that one can find these conditions naturally is the sun’s core. When fusion takes place, the resulting fused massive is less than the combined masses of the particles that take part in the fusion. The lost massive nucleus is generally converted into energy, since in physic energy/matter is neither created nor destroyed, but is only transformed from one form to another (AllSceience.org par.4).
Physicists use the equation E=MC2 to calculate the amount of energy that is generated as a result of the fusion of nucleus. In the core of the sun, four hydrogen nuclei with a mass equivalent to one proton join together to form one helium nucleus. The helium nucleus formed has a mass of 3.97 times the mass of one proton which can alternatively be expressed as 0.03x (mass of one proton) xC2. This reaction is 75% efficient. Geologists approximates that the sun can last for over 10 billion years on the fusion of hydrogen in its core (Strobel par.3).
There is a lot of research that is ongoing on how to harness the energy released during fusion into a more meaningful use. Scientists believe that the energy that is given out when nucleus fuse together can be used to generate electricity. Man made nuclear energy is usually formed from machines that are referred to as nuclear reactors which are part of nuclear power plant (Dean 12).
Electricity generated from nuclear fusion can greatly help to boost the high demand of energy in many industries. The hydrogen bombs which are considered as the humans’ most powerful and destructive weapons operate through the concept of fusion. Fission which refers to disintegration of the nuclei of particles is usually used to generate the intensive heat that is required to initiate the reaction of an atomic bomb.
Subsequently, nuclei join to form helium that gives a huge amount of energy that result to massive explosion. Increased research on the harnessing of fusion is likely to result to electricity that is more profitable than the one generated by fission in terms of supply, safety as well as cleanliness. Deuterium as well as tritium that are necessary for generation of fusion electricity can easily be obtained from seawater and tritium being made in the reactors from lithium.
The amount of fuel that is required for the generation electricity through fusion is much smaller than the fuel that is needed to produce electricity through Fission. Similarly, generation of electricity from fusion will involve less pollution since the process is not accompanied by any combustion (Fraedenrich 10).
The nuclear energy has been used widely in the past in the development of atomic as well as hydrogen bombs. For instance, in 1945 the United States of America bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki towns in Japan with an atomic bomb that resulted to the death of 100,000 and 40,000 people respectively (Rosenberg 3).
In 1952, the United States of America tested their first hydrogen bomb that they presumed to be a thousand times more powerful than the atomic bomb. In 1956, England opened a power plant as the first significant power plant to be established (Hersey 9).
The fusion process has enabled the most powerful nations to develop nuclear bombs that pose a great danger to the safety of many people. For example, the United States of America together with Russia possesses over 50,000 nuclear bombs. This prompts a great security concern.
For instance, there is a fear of what would happen in case there is an outbreak of a nuclear war. Similarly, there is a lot of fear of the repercussions that would follow if the nuclear weapons get in the hands of terrorists. In addition, if the nuclear weapons explode accidentally, they are likely to cause massive destruction. Lastly, the nuclear explosions are associated with the emission of radiation rays that are very harmful to the body cells and are known to cause deaths.
Harnessing the energy emitted from the fusion process with the aim of generating electricity can help the world address its high energy demands. To achieve this, a lot of research should be conducted in the best way on how to harness fusion in the most appropriate way in order to avoid adverse effects later on (ThinkQuest.Org 12).
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AllSceience.org. “First Law of Thermodynamics.” 5 February, 2002. 10 Dec. 2011
Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. “Introduction to Fusion.”12 August, 2009. Web.
Dean, Stephen. “Nuclear Science and Technology.” Journal of Fusion Energy. 2010,8,54,
Fraedenrich, Craig. How Nuclear Fusion Reactors Work. 10 December, 2011.Web.
Hersey, John. Hiroshima. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985.
Rosenberg, Jennifer. Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 10 December, 2011. Web.
Strobel, Nick. “The Sun’s Power Source.” 24 May 2001. Web.
ThinkQuest.Org. “Nuclear Energy.”10 December, 2011. 10 December, 2011.Web..