Definition of nuclear reaction in US English:

nuclear reaction


  • A change in the identity or characteristics of an atomic nucleus that results when it is bombarded with an energetic particle, as in fission, fusion, or radioactive decay.

    • ‘When we say that iron has the highest binding energy of all the elements, we mean that iron has the least total energy per nucleon, leaving no energy to give up in a nuclear reaction such as fission or fusion.’
    • ‘These nuclear reactions are called fission and fusion.’
    • ‘There are two types of possible nuclear rocket, utilising the different types of nuclear reactions: fission, when atoms split apart; and fusion, when they join together.’
    • ‘When alpha particles are emitted as a spontaneous nuclear reaction, the radioactive material transmutates toward a more stable isotope or element.’
    • ‘Many ideas were set afloat, ranging from radioactive decay to nuclear reactions of various kinds.’