Nuclear fission and fusion

Both nuclear fission and fusion can produce a large amount of energy, although we have not yet learnt how to control nuclear fusion in a commercial process.

Nuclear fission can be controlled in that the rate of reaction can be turned up or down as it is in a nuclear reactor used to generate electricity. The nuclear reactor does not create electricity directly but it is used to generate heat which boils water to form steam at high temperature. The high velocity jet of steam then drives a turbine connected to a generator.

 The first two sheets of notes illustrates the basics of a fission reaction and explains a little about where the energy comes from. The third sheet shows how a nuclear reactor is controlled and how it is used to generate electricity. 

The fourth sheet of notes explains why the uranium needed for fission reactions is so difficult to isolate.

The final sheets explain the process of nuclear fusion and outlines a couple of the methods being developed by which we might be able to control the reaction to generate energy steadily.

Click here for free video lessons on nuclear fusion and fission.