What is Nuclear Fission? Explained

Among the technologies we use today to generate electricity, the most efficient way to generate electricity is nuclear power plants. Because nuclear power plants generate electricity with the help of nuclear energy. In these power plants, heat energy is generated through nuclear fission of atoms which is then used to generate electricity.

If you don't know what nuclear fission is, this article is for you. Here I am going to unlock the details of nuclear fission. In this article, you will know

1. What is Nuclear Fission?
2. What is Nuclear Energy?
3. Calculation of Nuclear Energy
4. Uses of Nuclear Energy

What is Nuclear Fission?

There are some heavy atoms ( such as uranium-235 ) that are found on our planet whose nuclei are unstable. When such a heavy atom is bombarded with slow neutrons, it fragmented into two parts ( Ba-144 and Kr-92 ) of less or equal comparable size, and a tremendous amount of energy is released.

What is Nuclear Fission

This phenomenon of the division or disintegration of a heavy nucleus into two nuclei of comparable masses is known as nuclear fission.

The reason for the release of energy is that the sum of masses of the daughter/product nuclei is less than the sum of the parent/reactant nucleus and neutron i.e there is a loss of mass in this reaction. This loss in mass is converted into energy. This energy can be calculated through Einstein's mass-energy equivalent relation.

Where c is the speed of light, which is nearly 299792458 m/s.

What is Nuclear Energy?

In a nuclear change due to radioactive phenomena such as Radioactive decay, nuclear fission, or fusion, the total sum of masses of the daughter/product nuclei is always less than the sum of the parent/reactant nucleus. This means that some amount of mass is lost in this change.

This loss in mass in this nuclear changes is converted into energy. This energy is called nuclear energy. In 1905 on the basis of the theory of relativity Einstein suggests that mass and energy are interchangeable. So he gave a mass-energy equivalent relation, which is given above. This relationship between mass and energy is used to determine how much energy can be produced from the destroyed mass.

Calculation of Nuclear Energy

This very small amount of atomic mass that converted into a tremendous amount of energy is measured in the atomic mass unit (a.m.u). This unit is related to the S.I unit of mass (kg) is like that

If such 1 a.m.u mass is lost in nuclear reaction then the energy will be released

If This much energy is converted into MeV then it will be

This means that if 1 a.m.u mass is lost in nuclear fission, this lost mass will produce nearly 931MeV of nuclear energy.

Uses of Nuclear Energy

If we look at the use of nuclear energy then humans have used this energy in two ways since they came to know about it. This nuclear energy has been used in both destructive and constructive ways. The way in which human consciousness has evolved has gradually shifted from the destructive use of nuclear energy to constructive use of it.

In the 1940s, during the Second World War research initially focused on producing bombs out of nuclear energy. The focus then shifted to the peaceful use of nuclear energy by controlling it for power generation in the 1950s. Nuclear energy is now used in a variety of ways, such as industrial use, transportation, agriculture, and the medical field.

1. Uses of Nuclear Energy in Industry

Industrial tracers: Many radioisotopes are used as tracers to monitor fluid flow and filtration, detect leakage, and gauge engine wear.

Inspection and instrumentation: Many radioactive substances are used to inspect metal parts and the integrity of welds across a range of industries.

2. Uses of Nuclear Energy in Transportation

Nuclear-powered ships: Many small nuclear power plants are used to generate electricity in submarines.

Nuclear reactors for space: In many space missions RTGs (Radioisotope Thermal Generators) are used where radioactive substances like plutonium-238 used to generate electricity.

3. Uses of Nuclear Energy in Agriculture

In various fields of agriculture such as Plant Mutazian Breeding, Fertilizers, Insect Control, Consumer Products, Food Irradiation, the importance of this nuclear energy is essential.

4. Uses of Nuclear Energy in the Medical field

The importance of this nuclear energy in various fields of treatment such as diagnosis, therapy, sterilization is also essential.

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