Chemical reactions involve changes to the electron shells, with electrons being added, lost, or shared as a result of reaction. These changes are very different from the changes to nuclear particles, neutrons and protons, which lead to nuclear reactions like radioisotopic decay.
Work Step by Step
Chemical and nuclear reactions deal with very different parts of atoms. Nuclear reactions are much higher energy and involve changes in the center of an atom, while chemical reactions see changes in how electrons are arranged between and among atoms.