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Topic 5 ­ nuclear fission and nuclear fusion


Atoms are made up of sub-atomic particles which are protons,
neutrons and electrons. Electrons can be lost or gained and this
forms charged particles called ions.

Some materials are radioactive because the nucleus of each atom is
unstable and so can…

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Alpha particles

An alpha particle has 2 protons and 2 neutrons. When an alpha
particle is emitted from a nucleus, the nucleus loses 2 protons and 2
neutrons therefore the atomic mass decreases by 4 and the atomic
number decreases by 2. A new element is formed.

Alpha particles have…

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A gamma ray is a high energy electromagnetic radiation. It can
transfer energy to electrons orbiting an atom and if it gets enough
energy, it can break free from the atom. Gamma rays are the least
ionising however the most penetrating (can be stopped by thick

Nuclear fission


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4. Electricity goes to the transformers via national grid to
produce the correct voltage.

The difference between fossil fuel and nuclear power stations is the
way the water is heated. Fossil fuel power stations burn their fuel
while nuclear power stations use fission to generate heat.

All nuclear reactors produce…

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Nuclear fusion is when to small atomic nuclei join (fuse) to create a
large nucleus (e.g. 2 hydrogen = helium). Energy is released
therefore it can be used as a source of energy.

The sun and other stars use nuclear fusion to release energy and it's
when hydrogen nuclei join…


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