Main Question or Discussion Point
How does the binding energy per nucleon of a nucleus affect its stability?
The number of nucleons (summed over all particles) is conserved in a reaction. Reaction can only run against products with lower energies, this means against products with higher average binding energies.How does the binding energy per nucleon of a nucleus affect its stability?
Yes that's correct, but according to the semi-emperical mass formula (see e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_drop_model" [Broken])It is not necessarily the BE per nucleon that determines stability, but rather the difference in masses between an nucleus and possible decay products.