Nuclear Fusion

Energy is released when two light nuclei are fused together as the heavier fused nucleus is more tightly bound.

D + D → T + p + 4.0 MeV

D + D → 3He + n + 3.3 MeV

D + T → α + n + 17.6 MeV

D + 3He → α + p + 18.3 MeV

It is important to note that the energy released is very large per unit mass of material.

For the nuclei to fuse they must overcome their mutual electrostatic repulsion which is possible at temperatures between 108 K and 109 K. If a fusion reaction does occur then there enough energy released keep the reaction going. The challenges to sustainable fusion are reaching the appropriate temperatures and containing the plasma without the plasma touching the containment vessel.