Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter and Change 7th Edition

Published by McGraw-Hill Education
ISBN 10: 007351117X
ISBN 13: 978-0-07351-117-7

Chapter 24 - Problems: 24.89

Answer

See explanation below.

Work Step by Step

First, let's define the two terms. Fission is the breaking down of a heavy atom into smaller atoms and subatomic particles. Fusion is the binding together of two smaller atoms into a larger atom. Both are examples of nuclear chemistry and both produce large amounts of energy. There are two main advantages of fusion over fission. First, fusion reactions produce absolutely enormous amounts of energy, much more than fission reactions. The other main advantage is that fusion does not produce radioactive, toxic waste products like fission does. So why do we use fission reactors instead of fusion reactors? Because so far, nobody has been able to produce a fusion reactor that produces more energy than it takes in. Fusion produces large amounts of energy, but it also requires large amounts of energy to get started. But if a large enough reactor could be built and gotten started with a huge input of energy, the energy produced can cause a self-sustaining reaction that could produce energy for a long time. The Sun is probably the ultimate example of a fusion reactor. This answer can be found in the chapter 24 reading.
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