Nuclear chain reaction
A nuclear chain reaction
occurs when on average more than one neutron
from a nuclear fission
reaction causes another fission reaction. The rate of reactions will accelerate exponentially if left unmoderated. An uncontrolled chain reaction within a sufficiently large amount of fission fuel (critical mass) can lead to an explosive energy release and is the concept behind nuclear weapons
. The chain reaction could also be adequately controlled and used as an energy source (nuclear reactor
The first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was initiated a team led by Enrico Fermi below the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago on December 2, 1942 during the Manhattan Project.
See also nuclear physics