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Binding Energy

The total mass of a nucleus is always less than the sum of the masses of its individual nucleons. According to Einstein’s mass–energy relation E = mc2, mass is a measure of energy, and the total energy of the bound system is less than the combined energy of the separated nucleons. This difference in energy is called the binding energy of the nucleus. It is equal to the energy that must be added to a nucleus to break it apart into its components.
Conservation of energy and Einstein’s mass–energy relation show that the binding energy Eb of any nucleus of mass MA is
Eb(MeV) = (Zmp + Nmn  MA) × 931 MeV
where mp is the mass of proton, Z is the number of proton, mn is the mass of neutron and N the number of neutrons.

Nuclear Radii

The size and structure of nuclei was studied by Rutherford. Most nuclei are approximately spherical and have an average radius given by
R = R0A1/3

where R0 is a constant equal to 1.3 fermi and A is the mass number.

Nuclear Fission

Nuclear fission is a process of breaking up of a heavy nucleus, by the bombardment with a neutron, into two lighter nuclei of nearly equal size with the liberation of energy along with few neutrons.
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The energy released per nucleon in fission is roughly 1 MeV.

Nuclear Fusion

The process of two or more light nuclei fusing to form a heavier nucleus is called nuclear fusion.

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Nuclear Reactor

A nuclear reactor is an arrangement in which the nuclear chain reaction is controlled thereby giving a controlled supply of energy. The first nuclear reactor was built in Chicago by Enrico Fermi and his associates in 1942.


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Structure and Working of Nuclear Reactor

In a nuclear reactor the nuclear energy is converted into thermal energy which is used to convert water into steam at high temperature and pressure. This in turn is used to rotate the blades of the turbine generator and produce electrical energy.


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