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Nuclear fusion reactions

Nuclear fusion reactions

A130/0089

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Credit

MIKKEL JUUL JENSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MIKKEL JUUL JENSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Nuclear fusion reactions, computer artwork. These three reactions are being investigated for use in fusion power. Protons are red and neutrons blue. The relative amount of energy produced by a reaction is shown by the size of the pink flare at right. The top reaction is the D-T fuel cycle. A deuterium (D) nucleus fuses with a tritium (T) nucleus, forming a helium (He-4) nucleus and a free neutron. At centre is the D-He3 fuel cycle, in which D fuses with a He-3 nucleus, forming a helium nucleus and a proton. At bottom is the D-D fuel cycle, where two D nuclei fuse to produce He-3 and a neutron. D-T is the easiest, D-He3 produces the most energy. These reactions will be tested by the ITER project, scheduled to begin in 2016.

Release details

Model release not required. Property release not required.

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