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    I am struggling to understand the concept of how fission and fusion reactions give out energy using the curve Bev/ nucleon against mass number (i understand it the mass defect way). The graph shows that the end products of fission and fusion reactions have more energy per nucleon than the original reactants, surely then the process would need to take in energy rather than release energy.
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    If the products have less energy than the reactants, and energy is always conserved, then
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    energy must be released
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    Sure, but using the graph of binding energy per nucleon we can see that the products nucleons have individually more energy than the individual nucleons of the reactants, therefore the combined energy of the products has more energy than the reactants.
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    This curve: http://staff.orecity.k12.or.us/les.s...les/nfg005.gif
 
 
 
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