Atomic and Nuclear Physics
ENERGY RELEASE FROM FISSION
Figure 21 Uranium-235 Fission Yield vs.
Referring now to the binding energy per nucleon curve (Figure 20), we can estimate the amount
of energy released by our "typical" fission by plotting this reaction on the curve and calculating
the change in binding energy (DBE) between the reactants on the left-hand side of the fission
equation and the products on the right-hand side. Plotting the reactant and product nuclides on
the curve shows that the total binding energy of the system after fission is greater than the total
binding energy of the system before fission. When there is an increase in the total binding
energy of a system, the system has become more stable by releasing an amount of energy equal
to the increase in total binding energy of the system. Therefore, in the fission process, the energy
liberated is equal to the increase in the total binding energy of the system.