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Nuclear fission

Nuclear fission is a process where the nucleus of an atom is split into two or more smaller nuclei, known as fission products . The fission of heavy elements is an exothermic reaction and huge amounts of energy are released in the process. This energy can be used to produce nuclear power or to make nuclear weapons , both of which we will discuss a little later.

Nuclear fission

The splitting of an atomic nucleus into smaller nuclei

Below is a diagram showing the nuclear fission of Uranium-235. An atom of Uranium-235 is bombarded with a neutron to initiate the fission process. This neutron is absorbed by Uranium-235, to become Uranium-236. Uranium-236 is highly unstable and breaks down into a number of lighter elements, releasing energy in the process. Free neutrons are also produced during this process, and these are then available to bombard other fissionable elements. This process is known as a fission chain reaction , and occurs when one nuclear reaction starts off another, which then also starts off another one so that there is a rapid increase in the number of nuclear reactions that are taking place.

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The atomic bomb - an abuse of nuclear fission

A nuclear chain reaction can happen very quickly, releasing vast amounts of energy in the process. In 1939, it was discovered that Uranium could undergo nuclear fission. In fact, it was uranium that was used in the first atomic bomb. The bomb contained large amounts of Uranium-235, enough to start a runaway nuclear fission chain reaction. Because the process was uncontrolled, the energy from the fission reactions was released in a matter of seconds , resulting in the massive explosion of that first bomb. Since then, more atomic bombs have been detonated, causing massive destruction and loss of life.

Discussion : nuclear weapons testing - an ongoing issue

Read the article below which has been adapted from one that appeared in 'The Globe' in Washington on 10th October 2006, and then answer the questions that follow.

US officials and arms control specialists warned yesterday that North Korea's test of a small nuclear device could start an arms race in the region and threaten the landmark global treaty designed nearly four decades ago to halt the spread of nuclear weapons. US officials expressed concern that North Korea's neighbors, including Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, could eventually decide to develop weapons of their own. They also fear that North Korea's moves could embolden Iran, and that this in turn could encourage Saudi Arabia or other neighbours in the volatile Middle East to one day seek nuclear deterrents, analysts say.

North Korea is the first country to conduct a nuclear test after pulling out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The treaty, which was created in 1968, now includes 185 nations (nearly every country in the world). Under the treaty, the five declared nuclear powers at the time (United States, the Soviet Union, France, China, and Great Britain) agreed to reduce their supplies of nuclear weapons. The treaty has also helped to limit the number of new nuclear weapons nations.

Questions & Answers

how do we calculate the magnitude of the force between two objects
Ntombi Reply
we use Newtons law ...fnet=ma
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normal force is the line that is perpendicular to the surface
normal force is the force exerted to an object by the surface , perpendicular to the surface
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what does (1s2 2s2 and 2p6) mean?
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What are the differences between pd and emf?
Santosh Reply
How to calculate magnitude of Friction force
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in Newton
in newton
Onother Question?
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First of all in wat Grade ae u..?
grde 11
Oka nd hw is the properties of a substance afected by the intermoleculaer forces...
hi guys I m in grade 11 I need help with electrostatics
what is newton
Ndamulelo Reply
look for the x components n y components then after y add the x components separate n y separate then u use the Pythagoras theorem 2 find the resultand
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angle of incident and angle of reflection must always approach normal line thats where u will see 90° which is critical point
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how do I determine polar forces
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chemical formula for oxygen
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how do I draw free body diagram?
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how to calculate molar mass
molar mass =(element/compound) remember the subscript of an element must be multiplied. eg.get molar mass of H20 Molar mass(H20)=(1×2+16) =18 grams per mol
What is an industrial reaction
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Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 11 physical science. OpenStax CNX. Jul 29, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11241/1.2
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