What Is Nuclear Energy And How It Produced

what is nuclear energy and how it generates
Image Credit: Vox.com

We often heard about nuclear energy, its usage, and its advantages and disadvantages, but do you know exactly what is nuclear energy and how it produced. I know most of us can describe nuclear energy in a few other ways but they don’t know what it is exactly. So don’t worry about it because in today’s our article we will know about it, what it is exactly and how nuclear energy produced.

What Is Nuclear Energy

Atom is the smallest unit of matter which constitutes a chemical element. Every solid, liquid, gas, and plasma in the earth is composed of neutral or ionized atoms. No, wait don’t be confused this is not about the atom, this is about nuclear energy but both they are relatable because nuclear energy is the energy held in the nucleus of an atom. In the bonds, there is enormous energy that holds atoms together. Nuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions which release nuclear energy to generate heat, which is often used to generate electricity. In easy words, “to create electricity by using nuclear energy, nuclear energy must first be released from the atom”.

Ways To Produce Nuclear Energy

As I mentioned above, there is a huge amount of energy in an atom’s dense nucleus and it can be released from atoms in two ways first nuclear fusion and second nuclear fission.

What Is Nuclear Fusion

Nuclear fusion is a nuclear reaction. In nuclear fusion, energy is released when two or more light atomic nuclei collide at a very high speed and combined or fused to form a new type of heavy atomic nucleus. During this process, the matter is not conserved because some matter of the fusing nucleus is converted into photons, which can produce usable energy. The loss of mass is converted into Energy by the rule of E=mc².

what is nuclear fusion
Image Source: mechanic37

In this process, the light nucleus consists of hydrogen and the heavy nucleus formed is of helium. In the image above, you can see two light nuclei make one heavy nucleus and then they make two more, this reaction keeps running and releasing a lot of energy. Our Sun is one of the great examples of this, Sun is based on Nuclear Fusion, it produces unlimited energy only on the basis of nuclear fusion. The hydrogen bomb is also based on nuclear fusion. It is many times more dangerous than the atom bomb. Nuclear power plants use nuclear fission to generate electricity.

What Is Nuclear Fission

Nuclear fission generates energy through the splitting of atoms. Nuclear fission splits a heavy nucleus into two separate nucleus by bombarding them with neutrons, causing a lot of energy release. In easy words, we can say “Nuclear Fission is the bombardment of neutrons on a heavy or large nucleus to divide them into two small nucleus”.

A nuclear reactor (power plant), is a series of machines that control nuclear fission to generates electricity. To produce nuclear fission the fuel that nuclear reactors use is pellets of the uranium element. In a nuclear reactor, uranium atoms are forced to separate and as they split, atoms release small particles called fission products. Fission products divide other uranium atoms, initiating the chain reaction and the energy generated by this chain reaction produces heat.

what is nuclear fission
Image Source: atomicarchive

The heat created by nuclear fission heats the reactor’s cooling agent. A cooling agent is usually water, but some nuclear plants use liquid metals or molten salts instead of water. Then the cooling agent heated by nuclear fission produces steam then steam rotates the turbines. Turbine drive generators that make electricity.

Nuclear Fission is used in making the Atom Bomb or nuclear bomb. Carbon dioxide gas does not come out of the use of the Nuclear Reactor, nor any gas that is helpful in increasing global warming. 1 gram of Uranium produces 5.21 × 10²² Mev energy. If so much energy is needed from coal, many tons of coal would be needed. Out of this, there are invisible radiation spreads from nuclear fission that causes diseases like cancer.

Nuclear Reactor Startup

Nuclear Energy and Us

Electricity was produced by a nuclear reactor for the first time ever on September 3, 1948, at the X-10 Graphite Reactor in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. And It was June 27, 1954, when the first nuclear power plant established in Obninsk, Russia, which is specially designed to provide energy to a community. And since then this process of electricity generation is on. Nuclear energy produces electricity that can be used to power homes, schools, hospitals, and other things.

Nuclear power reactors generate renewable and clean energy. They do not pollute the air nor helpful in increasing global warming. That’s why they can be easily built in urban or rural areas, even they do not radically change the environment around them. Also, the heat powering the turbines or engines and generators is ultimately recycled, it is cooled down in a separate structure. The heat turns back into water and can be used again to generate more electricity.

nuclear energy and us
Image Source: Grist

While the energy generated by the nuclear reactor makes our life quite simple and easy, it also has many side effects in our life and environment.

Nuclear pollution is the emission of high energy particles or radioactive materials that can affect humans or natural animals on the air, water or land. Radioactive waste usually arises from nuclear processes such as nuclear fission. In this, about 15 to 20% of the radioactive particles enter the stratosphere of our atmosphere.

The radioactivity of nuclear waste decreases over time. This means that waste is kept out of the reach of living organisms until it is safe. This time period can be from a few days to a few months, or in some cases for years. It depends on the radioactive nature of the waste. The impact of explosion particles or explosion has side effects on the leaves and tissues of plants. These leaves are dangerous for grazing animals and the animals that depend on them. In these, radioactive iodine enters the human body through the food chain. This can cause thyroid cancer in humans. Living in the atmosphere for long periods of “nuclear degeneration” is dangerous for animals. A nuclear explosion is the result of an uncontrolled chain reaction. As a result, a large amount of neutron transport is produced. Such explosions include radioactive products such as unused explosives U-235, and Pu-239, and decomposed byproducts such as strontium-90, iodine-131, and cesium-137.

5 Biggest Nuclear Weapons Test

So this is the basic knowledge about nuclear energy such as what is nuclear energy and how it generates. But still, if you any questions or concerns so you can ask us in the comments section.

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