Nuclear Fusion

Click here to go to a page of multiple choice fusion questions.


(a) With reference to the process of nuclear fusion, explain why energy is released when two small nuclei join together, and why it is difficult to make two nuclei come together

(3 marks)

(b) A fusion reaction takes place when two deuterium nuclei join, as represented by

mass of deuterium nucleus = 2.01355 u

mass of helium-3 nucleus = 3.01493 u

mass of neutron = 1.00867 u


(i) the mass difference produced when two deuterium nuclei undergo fusion,

(ii) the energy released, in J, when this reaction takes place.

(3 marks)

(Total 6 marks)


(a) Copy the axes above, and sketch a graph to show how the average binding energy per nucleon depends on the nucleon number, A, for the naturally occurring nuclides. Show appropriate values for A on the horizontal axis of the graph.

(3 marks)


(i) Briefly explain what is meant by nuclear fission and by nuclear fusion.

(ii) Describe how the graph in part (a) indicates that large amounts of energy are available from both the fission and the fusion processes.

(3 marks)

(Total 6 marks)