Chapter 4. Nuclear Processes
Nuclear Reactions—those in which atomic nuclei participate—may take place spontaneously, as in radioactivity or may be induced by bombardment with a particle or ray. Nuclear reactions are much more energetic than chemical reactions, but they obey the same physical laws—conservation of momentum, energy, number of particles, and charge.
The number of possible nuclear reactions is extremely large, because there are approximately 2000 known isotopes and many particles that can either be projectiles or products—photons, electrons, protons, neutrons, alpha particles, deuterons, and heavy charged particles. In this chapter we will emphasize induced reactions, especially those involving neutrons.