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Nuclear fusion involves the joining together of two atomic nuclei, fusing them into a single nucleus. When you join two nuclei together (usually light nuclei with only a few protons and/or neutrons), a tremendous amount of energy is released. Just as it takes a tremendous amount of energy to pull apart the pieces of a nucleus, when you put two pieces together, a lot of energy is released. Fusion is often confused with nuclear fission, but they are very different. Fission involves the breaking apart of a single nucleus into two smaller nuclei. Fusion is joining nuclei. Fission is breaking apart a nucleus. A tremendous amount of energy is released upon joining two nuclei together (it is this reaction that is happening inside the sun). It also takes a huge amount of energy to get this reaction to occur. The only way we currently know how to start a nuclear fusion reaction efficiently is to use an atomic bomb to get it started! This is how much energy you need to start the reaction! There are several other ways that we know of to start fusion reactions, but they all require more energy input than you get as energy output. There is a tremendous amount of research currently on so-called "cold fusion" or a way to do fusion without this huge amount of energy input. Currently all known methods involve putting in MORE energy than you get out! That's not a good design for a power plant, to say the least (nor is having atomic bombs going off inside to keep the reactors going!). See the Web Links to the left of the page for more information.

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โˆ™ 2007-05-21 19:59:46
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Q: How is energy produced by nuclear fusion?
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