Kw-logo-smaller

Nuclear Energy In A Nutshell

Besides the fact that Nuclear Power Plants can make a little fish grow a 3rd eyeball… what else do you know about nuclear energy? If you haven’t heard about the energy crisis, the world is desperate for energy and nuclear energy is a major solution… or is it? Many people think that the power generated by nuclear power plants is worse for the environment in the long run. You might want to learn more about nuclear energy to help make decisions of what is a good source of energy for our future.

What is Nuclear Energy?

Nuclear energy is energy in the nucleus (core) of an atom. Atoms are tiny particles that make up every object in the universe. There is enormous energy in the bonds that hold atoms together. Nuclear energy can be used to make electricity. But first the energy must be released. It can be released from atoms in two ways: nuclear fusion and nuclear fission.

Isotope InterestIsotope Interest

In nuclear fusion, energy is released when atoms are combined or fused together to form a larger atom. This is how the sun produces energy.

In nuclear fission, atoms are split apart to form smaller atoms, releasing energy. Nuclear power plants use nuclear fission to produce electricity.

Nuclear power plants

Most power plants burn fuel to produce electricity, but not nuclear power plants. Instead, nuclear plants use the heat given off during fission as fuel. Fission takes place inside the reactor of a nuclear power plant. At the center of the reactor is the core, which contains uranium fuel.

Radioactive RodsRadioactive Rods

The uranium fuel is formed into ceramic pellets. The pellets are about the size of your fingertip, but each one produces the same amount of energy as 150 gallons of oil. These energy-rich pellets are stacked end-to-end in 12-foot metal fuel rods, which you might have seen Homer Simpson carrying at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.

Fission generates heat in a reactor just as coal generates heat in a boiler. The heat is used to boil water into steam. The steam turns huge turbine blades, As they turn they drive generators that make electricity. Afterward, the steam is changed back into water through a condenser and this water is used again and again. The steam is cooled using lake or river water flowing through tubes in the condenser. Because this water is heated (removes heat from the steam), this lake or river water can be cooled in a separate structure at the power plant called a cooling tower and then be returned to the lake or river.

Nuclear power and the environment

Tuna TrioTuna Trio

Like all industrial processes, nuclear power generation has by-product wastes: radioactive waste and heat. Radioactive wastes are the principal environmental concern for nuclear power. They are ordinary trash, tools, protective clothing, wiping cloths and disposable items that have been contaminated with small amounts of radioactive dust or particles. Safety inspectors make sure that these items never come in contact with the outside environment.

But what happens when there is a natural disaster like the earthquake in Japan? Sometimes the plant leaks these radioactive wastes into the environment because damage. Then what? The surrounding water is polluted, plants will die, animals can grow 3 eyeballs... it's not good.

Related Stories
14 Comments

latest videos

F1109195713421

What is the Cleanest Burning Fossil Fuel?

  • Coal.
  • Oil.
  • Natural Gas.
  • They all create the same amount of pollution.

related stories

If your parents have been stressing over money and you feel anxious because of the environment, w...
Micro_geothermal_micro
If you kept digging, what would you find? Probably lots of worms, roots, and a few dog bones. But...
Micro_hydroelectricity-micro
It's hard to imagine that water can be used to create electricity. The two are a dangerous combin...

Random in the forums

Alois_Trancy_
Here try writing aboutBacterial contamination I wonder if you've heard that song
reply 23 minutes
shae508
"Alois_Trancy_" wrote:I forgot that not all people are as comfortable as righting dark things like me >~> (It's not that..it's just...TWs....)
reply about 1 hour
Alois_Trancy_
I forgot that not all people are as comfortable as righting dark things like me >~>
reply about 1 hour
shae508
"Alois_Trancy_" wrote: "shae508" wrote: "Alois_Trancy_" wrote: Awkward noises  use cut- I'm Pretty Sure It Won't Matter If I Die I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter I'm pretty sure they don't care Stained red Taking too quick breaths They can't see Their eyes glaze over Ignoring me Am I invisible? So unimportant Unneeded Slice Doesn't matter No matter how numb I feel My razor helps me feel real When the world is but a dream And everything is not what it seems The color red Keeps me in reality  Trickle trickle Down my wrist  I love giving my skin A bloody kiss Can you see me? Are you still ignoring me? Are you ignoring the signs, Of a girl who wants to die? Slice, slice slice You don't care But it doesn't matter I'm smile and lie But mostly the latter I'll hide the scars on my wrist And every night I pray For deaths life sucking kiss ..... ..... -gasp- .... Can you see me now? ... Now that I'm dead? (I may have to ask for a slow down on some of these..depressing topics. I enjoy writing them but all the same...ever heard of a trigger warning? I'm pretty much writing about my triggers and it's not really fun...) awkward noises  im sorry .-. It's fine! Really! Some days it's just a bit harder to handle thinking of that stuff. Those topics might be a bit later or shorter cause it's hard to deal with them.
reply about 1 hour
Alois_Trancy_
"shae508" wrote: "Alois_Trancy_" wrote: Awkward noises  use cut- I'm Pretty Sure It Won't Matter If I Die I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter I'm pretty sure they don't care Stained red Taking too quick breaths They can't see Their eyes glaze over Ignoring me Am I invisible? So unimportant Unneeded Slice Doesn't matter No matter how numb I feel My razor helps me feel real When the world is but a dream And everything is not what it seems The color red Keeps me in reality  Trickle trickle Down my wrist  I love giving my skin A bloody kiss Can you see me? Are you still ignoring me? Are you ignoring the signs, Of a girl who wants to die? Slice, slice slice You don't care But it doesn't matter I'm smile and lie But mostly the latter I'll hide the scars on my wrist And every night I pray For deaths life sucking kiss ..... ..... -gasp- .... Can you see me now? ... Now that I'm dead? (I may have to ask for a slow down on some of these..depressing topics. I enjoy writing them but all the same...ever heard of a trigger warning? I'm pretty much writing about my triggers and it's not really fun...) awkward noises  im sorry .-.
reply about 2 hours

play online games