I feel that I have a misconception somewhere in my understanding of quantum physics and nuclear decay.
In fission, when the products have less mass in total than the reactant, the excess is understood to have converted completely into kinetic energy possessed by the reactants who travel off in opposite directions at extremely high speeds.
Similarly, the mass defect between the mass of a Tritium nucleus and its constituents, 1 proton and 2 neutrons, is representative of the binding energy per nucleon of Tritium.
In decay, there is gamma decay, or the emission of electromagnetic radiation in the form of high frequencied photons. These occur when a nucleus is in an excited state following either alpha or beta decay.
In the standard beta plus decay, a proton decays into a neutron, releasing a positron and electron neutrino in the process. The mass of a proton is lighter than that of a neutron, and it's part of the reason why beta plus decay is non-spontaneous and requires external agents for it occur.
However, in beta minus decay, a neutron decays into a proton, releasing an electron and electron antineutrino in the process. Now, there is mass excess in this decay. Is this mass excess converted into kinetic energy to be possessed by the electron and also the electron antineutrino? Also, in a bigger picture, Cobalt-60 decays via the same process into Nickel-60 releasing 2 gamma rays in the process due to nucleus excitement. How can we tell if there will be nucleus excitement due to alpha or beta decay, and where does the extra energy from these gamma rays come from?
Also, I read about the formation of a Carbon-12 atom from 3 alpha particles. But alpha particles don't have electrons, so how is a Carbon-12 atom formed from 3 alpha-particles? It's similar to the decay of Carbon-14 to Nitrogen-14, where are the extra electrons coming from? I feel that I don't entirely understand the quantum energy level concept of electrons.