Nuclear Energy
Nuclear Physics

Why do they not have not any fusion reactors?


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2011-03-22 17:26:23
2011-03-22 17:26:23

We are working on building controlled fusion reactors but, so far, have been unable to overcome the technological problems in doing so. There have been some minor successes, but only on a microscopic scale.

One of the hard parts is maintaining the extremely high pressures and temperatures that are required to sustain a fusion reaction, in combination with being able to contain that reaction. The plasma state needed for the fusion reaction cannot be contained by anything mechanical, as it is too hot. In the Sun, this works because of the extreme mass present, causing enough gravity to sustain the pressure needed. On Earth, we can not use anywhere close to the Sun's mass, so we go with magnetic fields. Problem is, that in order to produce a magnetic field strong enough to hold the plasma, you often need super-conducting magnets, which require super-cold temperatures - yet that has to be sustained in close proximity to the ultra high temperature of the fusion reaction.

So far, the only successful fusion reactors we have are uncontrolled, i.e. Hydrogen Bombs. That would, of course, not do for a power reactor. It is interesting to note that the amount of energy required to initiate a fusion reaction is enormous - so enormous that Hydrogen Bombs actually use Atomic (fission) Bombs to set them off. That's part of the problem with controlled fusion reactions - the amount of energy required to initiate them.


Related Questions

No nuclear fusion reactors is currently used on commercial basis.

No. Our reactors are fission reactors. We haven't yet mastered fusion reactors for power.

Yes, stars are fusion reactors.

because we can't make fusion reactors work, yet. fission is easy though,

Nuclear fusion reactors do not exist yet as we don't know how to build them. All nuclear reactors are nuclear fission reactors.

Well, fusion bombs are, but fusion reactors should not be (if we can build them).

Fusion reactors have turned out to be much much more complicated to make than anyone had ever anticipated. But fission reactors are easy to make.

Almost all current nuclear reactors are fission-based. There are only a few fusion reactors because practical fusion reactors which create more energy than they need to operate have not yet been developed. In terms of terminology, both fission reactors and fusion reactors are considered nuclear reactors, because both fission and fusion are nuclear reactions that alter the nuclei of atoms (fission breaking heavier atoms apart into lighter ones; fusion smashing lighter atoms together to make heavier ones).

Nuclear fusion reactors do not exist yet as we don't know how to build them. All nuclear reactors are nuclear fission reactors.

There are fission and fusion reactors. However, at present (2016) there is no commercial fusion reactor which can produce more energy than is required to operate it.

Zero, there are no practical fusion reactors. All existing prototype designs for fusion reactors take far more energy input to make them run than they generate.

There are fuel pellets and laser beams inside fusion reactors. But note that we have not build a successful one. The technical problems are overwhelming at this point.

Not naturally. Humans have created fusion reactions in hydrogen bombs and have experimented with creating fusion reactors.

I found the website K1 Project very helpful. They had several articles underneath their Learn/Energy tab which should answer any questions about nuclear fusion.

T. Kenneth Fowler has written: 'The fusion quest' -- subject(s): Nuclear fusion, Fusion reactors, Controlled fusion

No. "Reactors" contain fission reactions. No useful way of containing fusionon an industrial scale outside the laboratory has been developed yet.Edit: Tomak fusion reactors currently produce 10 times the energy that is put into them. The historical increase into the gain of fusion reactors has bettered the increase of capacity of DRAMs. The only reason that that it "isn't out of the laboratory" is because when you build a fusion reactor, it is usually called a laboratory.

If a handsaw does the same amount of work on a log as a chainsaw does, which has more power? Why?

Terry Kammash has written: 'Fusion reactor physics' -- subject(s): Fusion reactors

yes. If they ever perfect hydrogen fusion reactors, then maybe someone will have to come up with a clearer description, but until now, they are the same.

Mostly in test reactors, though some operational reactors (though only a small number) are in service. Also, if you have ever heard of an H-bomb, or a hydrogen bomb, that is nuclear fusion.

The expectation is that fusion reactors will provide large amounts of energy, and that they will be relatively environmentally-friendly.

Today these installations are not surely controlled.

A fuel used in a nuclear reactor is enriched 92U235

In tokamak reactors, approx 300 million degC

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