How does nuclear fission create energy?

1 Answer
Dec 26, 2015

It releases the energy of the atom.


First of all, energy cannot be created. That is a prime law of physics. It can be transferred and/or change form.

One of the four forces of nature is the strong force. The strong force is the energy which holds atoms together. All atoms possess this force but the amount of energy present varies according to the atom involved. For example, the energy which holds the protons and neutrons of gold together, 79 of each, is far greater than that of hydrogen which has a single proton. Uranium with its 92 protons and neutrons is one of a few elements which have a natural instability and loan themselves as "fissionable" material.

Uranium 235 is hit with a high energy neutron which in turn releases its inherent energy. We experience this release of energy in the form of heat which is then used to heat water and run electric producing turbines.

All atoms contain large amounts of energy but only a small number of atoms can be used to release their energy with today's knowledge.