radiation and the environment nuclear changes. fission vs. fusion
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Radiation and the EnvironmentNuclear Changes
Fission vs. Fusion
FissionNuclei of some elements can spontaneously lose particles or give off high energy radiation, split apart, or fuse together.Natural radioactive decay is a nuclear change in which unstable isotopes spontaneioudly emit fast-moving particles The left-overs are isotopes.
Nuclear (Fission) Chain Reaction
Fig. 2-6, p. 28Stepped ArtNeutron
Half LifeEach Isotope decays at a specific rate characteristic of that isotope. When one half of the original sample is leftover, that time is the isotopes half-life.The shorter the half-life the more radioactive the particle.
FissionControlled chain reactions are what power our nuclear reactors.Uncontrolled chain reactions are what cause a nuclear explosion.
Nuclear FusionWhile splitting an atom is called fission. Combining atoms is called fusion. It releases an enormous amount of energy. Only found in stars.