What I'm looking to understand is why fission and or fusion result in the release of energy. I understand that: By looking at the Binding Energy per Nucleon Curve, due to the strong force acting at very small length scales and falling off as 1/x^3 and the electro-magnetic repulsion of the protons falling off as inverse square, we end up with the curve that we shape. Lighter elements are building up their nuclei to even build up a force, but than after 4 nuclei diameter, the EMF starts to have substantial input. I also have sort of understood that by looking at the scenario: 1 AMU is measured as 1/12 of the mass of the carbon-12 atom, but the mass of the H-1 atom is 1.007825 AMU, therefore, what we say is that the nucleons in the carbon atom have lost some of their mass in the form of binding energy. So this leads me to understand that...just like the analogy of a star colliding into the planet and either a. bouncing off with kinetic energy, or b. the gravitational pull helping to store that kinetic energy as potential energy by overcoming that kinetic energy with gravitational force and holding that planet tight to it (extreme case of dampening)... the nucleons ultimately have some of their mass "tied up" in binding energy per nucleon in the middle area of hte curve. Where I've not made a connection yet: Why would Fusion or Fission Yield Net Energy. If the binding energies per nucleon are ultimately higher in the middle of the curve, then wouldn't they have more of their mass tied up into the binding energies of the nucleus, and therefore the mass defect that would exist could not be released as energy, but would be tied up into binding energy?