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Nuclear Fission and Fusion: JEE Main Important Topic

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Last updated date: 19th May 2024
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Introduction to Nuclear Fission and Fusion

A nuclear reaction is a reaction in which the stable form of nuclides form due to the collision of the atomic nuclei or elements of atoms (such as neutrons). This reaction is spontaneous and non-spontaneous. The nuclear reaction is of two types: nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. Both are nuclear reactions that produce a higher amount of energy when the collision of atomic nuclei happens. 


In this article, different interesting topics (like nuclear fission and fusion, the difference between nuclear fission and fusion, nuclear fission and fusion applications, examples of nuclear fission and fusion and the amount of energy released in nuclear fission and fusion, etc.) are discussed. The effect of nuclear fusion on the sun experienced by living entities present on earth is also explained in an elaborate manner.  


What is Nuclear Fission?

Nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which a neutron reacts with a larger atom by bombarding it, for the breakdown of a larger atom into smaller ones. The obtained smaller products are known as ‘fission products.


A Nuclear Fission


A Nuclear Fission 


In this reaction, a neutron obtained after the reaction moves further for the initiation of another nuclear fission reaction. This nuclear reaction is exothermic, which depicts that it releases a tremendous amount of energy. An example of nuclear fission is  Uranium-235 reacting with the neutrons, resulting in the formation of Krypton-92 and barium as fission products with the three neutrons. The nuclear reaction for the same is given below:

${ }_{92}^{235} U+{ }_{0}^{1} n \rightarrow{ }_{56}^{141} B a+{ }_{36}^{92} K r+3{ }_{0}^{1} n$


Nuclear Fusion

A nuclear fusion is a nuclear reaction in which two smaller atoms strike together with bombardment for the formation of a heavier and stable atom. In simple terms, it is just like the fusion of two small nuclei for the formation of a stable nucleus.


A Nuclear Fusion


A Nuclear Fusion


In this nuclear fusion, a higher amount of energy than the fission process is generated. This nuclear fusion reaction does not sustain for a longer period due to the requirement of the tremendous amount of pressure and temperature for the joining of different nuclei. 


An example of nuclear fusion is when two deuterium nuclei are heated to extremely high pressure and temperature and combine to form a heavy nucleus of helium with the emission of neutrons and a high amount of energy. The reaction for nuclear fusion is given below:

${ }_{1}^{2} H+{ }_{1}^{2} H \rightarrow{ }_{2}^{3} H+{ }_{0}^{1} n$


Another common example of nuclear fusion is:

The fusion of deuterium with tritium to form helium during the nuclear fusion reaction in the core of the sun.  


Difference Between Nuclear Fission and Fusion

The difference between nuclear fission and fusion is given in the table below:


S.No.

Nuclear Fission

Nuclear Fusion

1.

In this nuclear reaction, a large heavy nucleus is broken down into smaller nuclei.

In this nuclear reaction, two smaller nuclei are combined and fused for the formation of a heavier nucleus.

2.

In this process, the heavy nucleus is bombarded with neutrons.

In this process, light nuclei are heated to elevated temperature and pressure before the fusion process.

3.

The byproduct of this fission process is waste, which is an environmental challenge.

There is no nuclear waste obtained as a byproduct of this fusion product.

4.

The raw material used for the fission process is uranium and plutonium which is costly for the economy.

The raw material used for the fusion process is easily sourced.

5.

This reaction involves an established, old-decade technique to control the fission process.

There is still undergoing research for controlling the fusion process.


Applications of Nuclear Fission and Fusion 

  • The amount of energy released from the nuclear fission process is used in reactors that convert water into steam, which is further used to run the turbine. It acts as a source of carbon-free electricity.

  • The result of nuclear fusion in the sun produces light and warmth, which is experienced by living entities on earth.

  • As no combustion takes place in nuclear fission and fusion, there are no symptoms of air pollution. 

  • The energy released from the nuclear fission process is used for running the propeller of submarines. 

  • The energy obtained from nuclear fusion can act as a fuel supplier in abundance. 

 

Conclusion 

This article concludes with interesting and basic information on nuclear fission and fusion. It also shows the difference between nuclear fission and fusion. It covers information on nuclear fission and fusion, nuclear fission and fusion applications and has shared 5 examples of both. It has also described the difference in the amount of energy released in nuclear fission and fusion. This article provides clarity on the concept of nuclear fission and fusion in an elaborate manner.

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FAQs on Nuclear Fission and Fusion: JEE Main Important Topic

1.  What will happen if there is no nuclear fusion?

If there is no nuclear fusion on the earth, there would be no possibility of life. The light which is visible on earth and the warm weather that is felt on the earth are the results of a fusion reaction in the core of the sun. It happens when the nuclei of hydrogen atoms collide and fuse for the formation of helium atoms along with the release of a tremendous amount of energy. 

2. What are the reasons to be worried about nuclear fission?  

The amount of energy released from the processing of neutrons with the hazardous radioactive elements like uranium and plutonium can create a hazard of theft, sabotage and war. These are threats that evolve from the fission process. It is a good source of energy as it liberates a higher amount of energy to the environment. However, it also has vulnerable effects on the living beings present in the ecosystem. Hence, the use of nuclear fission can be risky to the living entities. 

3. What is the weightage of nuclear fission and fusion in the JEE competitive exam?

The weightage of nuclear fission and fusion in the JEE competitive exam is average. The concept of nuclear fission is moderately asked in the examination, as it is not the most favorite topic of the examiner from the JEE point of view. Many numericals can be created from this section, as it involves various important topics like nuclear reaction, nuclear fission and fusion with the equation and examples, the numerically related half-life of the decay process, etc. Hence, it is necessary to cover this topic with the full practice of numerical and revision of topics for the JEE exam.