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Nuclear Fission -->Fis  sion

(it almost looks like you can split the word "Fission" between the "issi")





Nuclear fission is the process of taking a large nucleus and dividing it into smaller nuclei.  Commercial power plants and nuclear weapons depend on the fission process.  Uranium-235, Uranium-233 and Plutonium-239 undergo fission when struck by a slow moving neutron.  A heavy nucleus can split in many different ways.  Two different ways that the uranium-235 nucleus splits are shown below:

The extra neutrons that are produced by the fission of uranium-235 can then cause additional uranium-235 to go through the fission process.  This is called a chain reaction.  If the reaction is allowed to proceed unchecked, then a nuclear explosion can result.  If the process is moderated or slowed down then the process can be used as a fuel source in a nuclear reactor.  In a nuclear reactor, control rods are lowered between fuel rods to slow the fission process by capturing excess neutrons. 



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