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How is energy released in a nuclear reaction?

Energy is released in a nuclear reaction through the conversion of mass into energy.

In a nuclear reaction, the nucleus of an atom is either split apart (nuclear fission) or combined with another nucleus (nuclear fusion). In both cases, a small amount of mass is converted into energy according to Einstein's famous equation, E=mc². This means that a tiny amount of mass can produce a huge amount of energy.

In nuclear fission, a heavy nucleus such as uranium-235 is bombarded with neutrons, causing it to split into two smaller nuclei and releasing several neutrons and a large amount of energy. This energy is released in the form of heat, which can be used to generate electricity in nuclear power plants.

In nuclear fusion, two light nuclei such as hydrogen isotopes are combined to form a heavier nucleus, releasing energy in the process. This is the process that powers the sun and other stars, and scientists are currently working on developing nuclear fusion as a clean and sustainable source of energy on Earth.

Overall, nuclear reactions release energy by converting a small amount of mass into a huge amount of energy, which can be harnessed for various purposes. However, nuclear reactions also have potential dangers and risks, which must be carefully managed and controlled.

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