Achieve Nuclear Fusion By Splitting Atoms

Fusion energy is very efficient and clean,but it's very hard to achieve it.That's why I think that instead of wasting energy on starting the fusion reaction we could use nuclear fission to start the fusion reaction.

It's a simple concept:just let more neutrons in the fission reaction.
This will raise the temperature (hopefully) to the one required to achieve fusion.

This is a theoretical,untested concept.

I would like to hear what you think about this subject!
 

phyzguy

Science Advisor
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Starting nuclear fusion using nuclear fission works. It's called a thermonuclear bomb. For verification, I recommend a field trip to Bikini atoll.
 
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There is a minimal size for fission chain reactions. The concept works, but it has to be a big bomb.
 
There is a minimal size for fission chain reactions. The concept works, but it has to be a big bomb.
And a tough,heat-resistant reactor as well...
 
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It has been studied, but it would be too expensive.
 

Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
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It's a simple concept:just let more neutrons in the fission reaction.
The number of neutrons release in the fission process is fixed, on average between 2 and 3, since each fission reaction can release 2 or 3 neutrons, with a small fraction (delayed neutrons) being released from certain fission products. One cannot increase the number of neutrons released from a given fission reaction.

Fission reactions can trigger fusion, but it is the temperature (from energy released by fission), not the neutrons that drive fusion, in addition to the high pressure involved. Such systems are initiated by prompt supercritical reactions, and are uncontrolled. Nuclear power systems are controlled, and not permitted to go prompt supercritical.
 

Astronuc

Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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It has been studied, but it would be too expensive.
and just silly. There were also proposals for using thermonuclear detonations for mining or excavation. The problem would the fallout and activation of surrounding material.
 
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Fusion energy is very efficient and clean,but it's very hard to achieve it.That's why I think that instead of wasting energy on starting the fusion reaction we could use nuclear fission to start the fusion reaction.

It's a simple concept:just let more neutrons in the fission reaction.
This will raise the temperature (hopefully) to the one required to achieve fusion.

This is a theoretical,untested concept.

I would like to hear what you think about this subject!
Actually you have it backwards. The problem is that current fusion confinement concepts are too inefficient. Heating a plasma up to the temperatures needed to initiate fusion reactions is easy. We have been doing this for close to a century. The hard part is to design an efficient confinement configuration, that will capture enough of the heat from fusion to sustain the plasma at the desired temperature with minimal external heating.
 

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