Nuclear Fission: Basics

When a nucleus fissions, it splits into several smaller fragments. These fragments, or fission products, are about equal to half the original mass. Two or three neutrons are also emitted.

Nuclear Fission
Nuclear Fission

The sum of the masses of these fragments is less than the original mass. This 'missing' mass (about 0.1 percent of the original mass) has been converted into energy according to Einstein's equation.

Fission can occur when a nucleus of a heavy atom captures a neutron, or it can happen spontaneously.

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