Lesson 15, Topic 2
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Nuclear Fission

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Nuclear fission is a process of splitting a large atomic nucleus into two or more smaller nuclei known as fission products.

Fission may be spontaneous for unstable nuclei, but may also be triggered by a bombarding particle.

These reactions release a lot of energy as each particle undergoes a series of decays, each releasing kinetic energy through expelled particles.

Fission Chain Reactions

Neutrons released in fission can be absorbed by other nuclei, producing further fusion reactions.

  • If only one neutron per event is allowed to cause another fission, the reaction is controlled and self-sustaining.
  • If multiple neutrons are allowed to cause further fission, the reaction is uncontrolled and can result in an explosion.