Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Fusion and Breeder Reactors
Name: Suzanne
Status: Student
Age: 11 
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A

What is the difference between a fusion reactor and a breeder reactor? What are the advantages and disadvantages of a breeder reactor? You do have something in your archives about this but it only explains a breeder reactor and that its a fission reactor. I'm asking about the difference between a fusion reactor and a breeder reactor, so it doesn't help me.

A breeder reactor is a particular sort of fission reactor that uses neutrons produced in the fission process to make new fuel--for example, to convert the stable isotope Uranium-238 into the radioactive isotope Plutonium-239. The advantage of a breeder reactor is that it produces fuel. A disadvantage is that the fuel produced can be used to make nuclear weapons, so it requires much greater security.

A fusion reactor produces energy by fusing light nuclei together, instead of splitting heavy nuclei apart.

Tim Mooney

Click here to return to the Engineering Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory