A nuclear reaction is a process in which the nucleus of an atom is altered, resulting in a change in the atomic number or mass of the nucleus. Nuclear reactions can be either spontaneous or induced, and can release or absorb large amounts of energy. Nuclear reactions can have both beneficial and harmful effects on the environment and human health. While nuclear reactions can provide a source of clean energy, they can also lead to the production of radioactive waste and pose a risk of accidents and radiation exposure. As a result, nuclear reactions are heavily regulated and closely monitored by governments and international organizations.
- Radioactive Decay - This is a spontaneous process in which an unstable nucleus emits radiation, such as alpha or beta particles, in order to become more stable.
- Nuclear Fusion - This is a process in which two atomic nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus, releasing a large amount of energy in the process. Nuclear fusion is the process that powers stars and is being researched as a potential source of energy on Earth.
- Nuclear Fission - This is a process in which a heavy nucleus is split into two or more smaller nuclei, releasing a large amount of energy. Nuclear fission is the process that powers nuclear reactors and atomic bombs.
- Nuclear Transmutation - This is a process in which the nucleus of an atom is transformed into a different element by either adding or removing protons.