The harnessed nuclear energy is released in nuclear reactions. There are two types of nuclear reactions called nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. Nuclear fission and fusion involve the disintegration and combination of the elemental nucleus. In the case of nuclear fission, an atom divides into two or smaller or lighter atoms. Nuclear fusion occurs when two or more atoms join or fuse together to form a large or heavy atom.
Nuclear Fission: The word fission means division or splitting. As per the meaning in the nuclear fission reaction, the nucleus of an atom is bombarded with low energy neutrons which split the nucleus into smaller nuclei, this process is called nuclear fission. An abundant amount of energy is released in this process. Nuclear fission reactions are used in nuclear power reactors since it is easy to control and produces large amounts of energy.
Example: when uranium-235 atoms bombard with neutrons, the heavy nucleus of the uranium splits and produces krypton-94 and barium-139 with the emission of three neutrons.
Nuclear Fusion: Nuclear Fusion is a reaction that occurs when two atoms combine together to form one or more different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles like protons and neutrons. An enormous amount of energy is released in this process and is greater than the nuclear fission reaction. Example: Fusion occurs in the sun where the atoms of (isotopes of hydrogen, Hydrogen-3, and Hydrogen-2) Deuterium and Tritium combine in a huge pressure atmosphere with extremely high temperatures to produce an output in the form of a neutron and an isotope of Helium.
Below picture shows the pictorial representation of Nuclear Fission and Fusion reaction.
Fusion occurs in the sun where the atoms of(isotopes of hydrogen, Hydrogen-3, and Hydrogen-2) Deuterium and Tritium combine in a huge pressure atmosphere with extremely high temperatures to produce an output in the form of a neutron and an isotope of Helium. Also, the amount of energy released in fusion is way greater than the energy produced by fission. The difference between nuclear fission and fusion is provided here so that learners can understand the concept more effectively.
Difference Between Nuclear Fission and Nuclear Fusion
The table above would have given you a clear idea about how the two terms nuclear fission and fusion vary from one another. You may want to read more differences like this by clicking on the links given below:
- Difference Between Chemical Reactions and Nuclear Reactions
- Difference Between Emission and Absorption Spectrum
A nuclear reactor is an apparatus that produces and controls the energy that is released from nuclear fission reactions. The energy released from the controlled nuclear fission reactions is harnessed as heat and is used to produce steam. The steam produced is used to drive the turbines, which in turn produce electricity. The video below clearly explains the working of a nuclear reactor
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