nuclear fission

chain reaction

Nuclear fission chain reaction involving uranium-235.

Nuclear fission is a process in which a heavy atomic nucleus splits into two more-or-less equal fragments accompanied by the release of large amounts of energy. A chain reaction results when the neutrons released during fission cause other nearby nuclei to break apart. Fission may occur spontaneously or may be induced by capture of bombarding particles. In addition to the fission fragments, neutrons and gamma rays are usually produced during fission.