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The science of nuclear energy
The science of nuclear energy

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1.3 Nuclear processes

This is an image depicting nuclear fusion.
Figure 12

So far, you have looked inside the nucleus and determined its composition. You have learned that the composition of the nucleus and the forces at play can lead to instability and emission of particles.

In fact, something even more dramatic can happen to the largest nuclei such as uranium and plutonium. They can split apart into smaller fragments and release energy as they do so. This process is called fission and is the basis of the current nuclear industry.

In the next sections, you will learn about the process of fission and how it may be induced. There is another process where smaller nuclei can bind together called fusion. You will come back to fusion during Week 4.