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We know that mass defect in the nucleus occurs because of mass being converted to energy by the mass-energy equivalence.

If that's the case then what triggered the release of energy during the formation of the nucleus? Also, why is that the amount of energy released equal to the binding energy of the nucleus? I mean how come the physicists concluded that the magnitude of energy released during the formation of the nucleus is equal to the magnitude of energy required to shred the nucleus into individual nucleons?

I hope you get my doubt!

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This is because charges located at infinity have zero potential energy. When the nucleons and electrons assembled together, they now have lower potential energy as it is a more stable configuration. This difference in energy is released and is termed as the binding energy. Now when you try to separate the same atom, the same amount of energy must be given as the two are reverse processes of each other.

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