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If two deuterium nuclei merge to become helium, 2.2 Me V 2.2 Me V of binding energy are replaced by helium-4’s average binding energy of 7.1 Me V per nucleon, or a total of 4 x 7.1 Me V. Fission (as well as fusion) can be sustained only if energy is released to drive more fission (or fusion). It is also the energy required to break (unbind) a nucleus into separate protons and neutrons.The closer the mass of a nucleus is to the mass of an iron or nickel nucleus (60 AMU), the more binding energy that nucleus has per nucleon.

Its nucleus has a total binding energy of about 2.2 Me V, so the average binding energy per nucleon is about 1.1 Me V. For example, when uranium fissions, the sum of the binding energies of the fragments is greater than the binding energy of the uranium nucleus, so energy is released.

When fission occurs, mass is lost and energy is released.

Likewise, when light nuclei merge (a process called mass is lost and energy is released.

Stated another way, a very heavy nucleus sometimes splits, a process called particle of light).

When fission happens spontaneously—without being hit—it is a type of decay.

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