Nuclear Fission and Fusion

Although they sound similar they are both different...

Hope this helps :)

HideShow resource information

Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear Fusion= this reaction happens in stars and has not been acheived by scientists on earth...Nuclear fusion involves two atomic nuclei joining to make a large nucleus. Energy is released when this happens. in stars the equation is ...

A hyrdogen-1 nucleus is made of 1 proton. This can combine with a hydrogen-2 nucleus (which has one proton and one neutron) to form a new nucleus with two protons and one neutron. This is the nucleus of helium-3. So helium-3 has been formed by fusing the hyrodgen-1 and hydrogen-2 nuclei. ( + a vast amount of energy...

A diagram showing nuclear fusion

nuclei collide and fuse together (

1 of 3

Nuclear Fission

As for Nuclear fission its the splitting of a nuclei for example...

When a uranium-235 or plutonium-239 nucleus is hit by a neutron, the following happens:

  1. the nucleus splits into two smaller nuclei, which are radioactive
  2. two or three more neutrons are released
  3. some energy is released

The two or three neutrons that are release can go on and hit uranium-235 or plutonium-239 nucleus and a chain reaction is formed,

(Uranium or plutonium isotopes are normally used as the fuel in nuclear reactors, because their atoms have relatively large nuclei that are easy to split, especially when hit by neutrons.

The following diagram on the following page expains it a bit more: 

2 of 3


3 of 3


That Robin

A bit vague but helps you work out the difference

Similar Physics resources:

See all Physics resources »See all Radioactivity resources »