what is nuclear energy?

How Does Nuclear Energy Work?

Nuclear energy is simply the energy from the center, or nucleus, of an atomic atom. Atoms are very small, tiny units that makeup everything in the entire universe, including plants and animals. A nuclear generator, or nuclear power plant, is simply a set of machinery that is used to generate electricity by using the nuclear force to split the atom’s nucleus into two or more neutrons. This splitting of the atoms produces energy, which is then sent through wires to power buildings and factories. The energy created by these plants can be used to heat water and provide lighting, as well as producing heat for running electrical appliances.


Nuclear energy can be used to heat any object

when the atomic nucleus of the object is forced to join together and create energy. This creates what is known as nuclear fusion. When this happens, the nucleus of the atom becomes very stable, like a solid, and has no chance of breaking free and liberating the energy it contains. For this process to occur, two kinds of atoms must join, and both need to be very close in proximity to one another.


To create nuclear energy

one kind of atom must absorb neutrons from another, until such time that an energy beam of a nuclear power plant is pointed at them. Once these atoms absorb the neutrons, they give off energy. After this chain reaction, radioactivity occurs, meaning that the amount of radioactivity is directly proportional to how many neutrons have been absorbed. One gram of nuclear waste is composed of 100 neutrons, so if you were to attempt to melt down and make nuclear energy, you would be consuming a lot of nuclear waste.


There are three different methods for creating this energy

which are nuclear fission, solar power, and molten salt. With fission, you take a nucleus, like the atom of a regular atom, and add a little bit of heat, splitting the atom and releasing the energy. For this process to occur, something has to trigger a chain reaction; for this to happen, the neutrons are split by an unstable isotope, resulting in energy released in the form of heat. Solar power is similar, except that instead of the nuclear material splits into neutrons and electrons, power is created by the sun’s radiation. Molten salt is used in both nuclear fission and solar power plants, but because the temperature is extremely low, it is much more difficult to release the created energy.


Once an element forms

whether through nuclear fission or nuclear energy, it begins to gain its own neutrons. Atoms gain their neutrons from a process called decays. The number of neutrons that exist in a given atom is equal to the total number of protons in that atom – a positively charged atom is negatively charged, while a negatively charged atom is positively charged. Neutrons can only gain one spin per year, which is why nuclear energy is classified as permanent. Unlike other types of energy, nuclear energy cannot be destroyed, only altered.


There are two different ways

that we produce electricity with nuclear energy; we use nuclear fission or fusion to create electricity, and we use solar power to generate electricity. During the fusion process, atoms split apart, gaining one or more neutrons. These neutrons are paired with an element to form a new atom, which starts a chain reaction that produces energy. When using solar power, the actual process is reversed: Instead of using light to create electricity, the light is used to split one of the particles in a solar panel into neutrons and electrons. This creates a flow of electricity, which is then routed to a battery to store energy for use in your home.

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