Nuclear energy, also known as atomic energy, is energy derived from an atom’s nucleus (usually uranium).
This type of energy is highly efficient because as an atom decays, it releases a massive quantity of energy in heat, used to produce electrical energy.
Nuclear energy is defined in physics as dissolving an atom to release the potential energy that links atomic particles to its nucleus.
This process takes place in nuclear power facilities with nuclear reactors, which generate energy from the water vapor created when the water temperature inside the reactors rises.
It is now feasible to profit from atomic energy, which would have appeared inconceivable a century ago, thanks to technological breakthroughs and advances in science and physics.
Today, nuclear power plants provide over one-third of all electrical energy utilized on the European continent, owing to their excellent efficiency and low environmental effect.
Beyond the generation of electricity, humanity has used nuclear energy for various objectives ranging from scientific to military applications. However, the most significant advantage that nuclear energy has delivered to the globe has been its usage to create clean, steady energy safely.
Examples of Nuclear Energy with Pictures
Because nuclear energy is becoming increasingly prevalent in the world around us, we will discuss several examples of nuclear energy.
Nuclear Power Plants
We have stated that nuclear power plants are the most prominent illustration of how man has exploited nuclear energy to his advantage.
Nuclear fission of nuclei of some fissionable elements is performed at these facilities to release energy in the form of heat. This heat is utilized to create electricity, subsequently distributed to the power system.
The Hadron Collider at CERN
The hadron collider at CERN is one of the great scientific endeavors that has enabled the study of quantum mechanics and contemporary physics.
Experiments using atomic energy are carried out securely in this particle accelerator, and it also allows for trustworthy findings, which have enabled numerous breakthroughs in science.
Nuclear submarines are submarines powered by a nuclear reactor.
Because of its nearly unlimited energy source, this sort of submarine can run and drive itself constantly for up to 25 years. This efficiency level has been made possible by nuclear energy, demonstrating how the usage of this technology has resulted in significant advances for humanity.
Atomic bombs are another application of nuclear energy.
These bombs have an absolute deadly effect. A nuclear reaction occurs within an atomic weapon, releasing a massive quantity of destructive energy.
Nuclear batteries are miniature nuclear reactors that continually capture nuclear energy.
Nuclear batteries can generate electrical power for an extended time, in some cases reaching 20 years. This gadget is employed in equipment such as satellites, scientific stations, and remote locations.
How is Nuclear Energy created?
Atoms are minor components that makeup matter. They are composed of a nucleus, neutrons, protons, and electrons held together by a powerful atomic force that prevents them from separating. Nuclear energy is typically generated by a process known as nuclear fission.
On the other hand, nuclear fission involves the separation of an atom’s nucleus from the rest of its components, resulting in the release of all of its potential energy. Immediately, all of the heat energy generated is utilized to power a turbine attached to an alternator, which creates electrical energy when it starts up.
How does it work?
Nuclear energy, which is employed in nuclear power plants, functions according to the following principles:
Nuclear energy release: Inside a nuclear reactor, the nucleus of a fissionable atom (typically uranium) is fissioned to produce a chain reaction that releases energy in the form of heat.
Conversion of heat into kinetic energy: The heat produced by this process is utilized to turn water into steam inside the reactor. This steam is then pushed under pressure to a turbine, which is propelled by the passage of steam through it.
Kinetic energy to electrical energy conversion: A shaft connects the running turbine to an electrical generator (electromagnet), which may generate electrical energy in the same manner as conventional power plants do.
Nuclear waste management: Nuclear waste is kept in specific containers isolated from the outside environment, which permits the radioactivity of the nuclear waste to be safely stopped for as long as necessary.
Nuclear energy, as we know it, exists in two separate forms.
Nuclear fission is obtaining nuclear energy by fissioning or breaking the nucleus of a fissionable atom to emit radiation, which is accomplished by blasting an unstable atom with a neutron. Following that, the nucleus fissions and emits two neutrons, which collide with other atoms, causing them to fission again. As a result, a chain reaction releases a tremendous quantity of energy.
Nuclear fission is how nuclear reactors generate electricity from nuclear energy.
Fusion energy from nuclear fission is the process of inducing the nuclei of two light atoms to fuse under high physical circumstances. It is also known as a thermonuclear reaction.
When nuclear fusion occurs, energy is produced, which may be seen, for example, in the way the Sun creates energy. However, because nuclear fusion cannot presently be performed artificially, it cannot create clean and ecologically benign electrical energy.
Due to the complexity and cost of harnessing nuclear energy, its applications are currently restricted; nonetheless, there are many highly significant applications of atomic energy that should be considered:
- Nuclear power plants, which are facilities capable of harnessing the energy generated by nuclear fission within nuclear reactors to generate electricity, are used to produce electric power. Some nuclear power plants create heat for their facilities by utilizing the thermal energy emitted by nuclear fission.
- It has a variety of military applications, including the propulsion or movement of submarines, ships, vehicles, and aircraft. Nuclear bombs are another military application of nuclear energy.
- It is utilized to make long-lasting batteries used in satellites, space stations, space probes, and other technical instruments that are not frequently accessed.
The Advantages and Disadvantages
Nuclear energy has several advantages that you should know; nevertheless, it also has a lot of restrictions in the form of disadvantages.
- Nuclear energy allows for the generation of power without fossil fuels. Nuclear power plants are highly efficient because they can capture nearly all of the energy emitted by each nuclear fission.
- Nuclear fission produces thermal energy in addition to electrical energy.
- Nuclear power plants constantly operate throughout the year, providing a continuous source of electricity that other energy sources such as wind, tidal, and so on can not provide. Despite not being renewable energy, nuclear power plants use only small uranium to create electricity all year.
- The initial cost of nuclear-powered equipment is exorbitant. Because of the technological advancements necessary to utilize nuclear energy, not all countries have access to it.
- Nuclear catastrophes, while improbable, can have disastrous effects on civilization and life on Earth.
- Some nuclear waste produced by power reactors can be radioactive for more than a century. Thus proper handling and separation of this material are critical to avoiding environmental dangers.
Mathematical Formula of Nuclear Energy
The nuclear energy produced by nuclear fission is often computed using the famous formula published by Albert Einstein due to his physics research.
E = m * c*2
E = heat energy gained from nuclear fission (in J).
m = mass that is consumed by fission (in Kg).
c = Constant of light speed (3 * 103).