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File:Fission chain reaction.svg

Schematic diagram of a fission chain reaction. Based roughly on the illustration in the Smyth Report (1945).


  1. A uranium-235 atom absorbs a neutron, and fissions into two new atoms (fission fragments), releasing three new neutrons and some binding energy.
  2. One of those neutrons is absorbed by an atom of uranium-238, and does not continue the reaction. Another neutron is simply lost and does not collide with anything, also not continuing the reaction. However one neutron does collide with an atom of uranium-235, which then fissions and releases two neutrons and some binding energy.
  3. Both of those neutrons collide with uranium-235 atoms, each of which fission and release between one and three neutrons, and so on.

Created by User:Fastfission in Adobe Illustrator.


Public domain This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Fastfission. This applies worldwide.
In some countries this may not be legally possible; if so:
Fastfission grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

If you want to credit someone, credit "Wikimedia Commons." Otherwise don't credit anyone, that's fine by me. -- Fastfission 15:02, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

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