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A type of nuclear reaction in which two atomic nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus, releasing energy, also called nuclear fusion. For a fusion reaction to take place, the nuclei, which are positively charged, must have enough kinetic energy to overcome their electrostatic force of repulsion. Thermonuclear fusion of deuterium and tritium produces a helium nucleus and an energetic neutron. This is one basis of the hydrogen bomb, which employs a brief, uncontrolled thermonuclear fusion reaction. Effort are now under way to harness thermonuclear fusion as a source of power.