Nuclear -- Intro

Nuclear Energy Is ........



atoms from Googleimages
atoms from Googleimages

Nuclear energy comes from energy changes in the center of an atom. The word nucleus comes from the Latin word for "seed, nut or fruit stone" because the nucleus is the center of an atom. Nuclear means "the central part of an atom that includes nearly all of the atomic mass and consists of protons and neutrons except in hydrogen in which it consists of one proton only". The word nuclear originates from around 1845-1850, from the French word, nucléaire. An atom is any energy in it's smallest form.


There are two possible ways to form nuclear energy. One way is fusion, the other way is fission. Nuclear fission happens on earth and is man-made. During nuclear fission, an atom (a neutron) hits the uranium atom which splits to form smaller atoms, large amounts of energy, heat and radiation. If this happens more than once, then, a chain reaction will occur.

Nuclear Fission Chain Reaction from atomicarchive.com
Nuclear Fission Chain Reaction from atomicarchive.com


The sun and stars use fusion to produce heat and light. Nuclear fusion occurs when huge amounts of heat fuse four hydrogen atoms together which produces a helium atom. This helium atom has too much energy to contain, so it releases a free neutron, a helium nucleus, and a large amount of energy. More specifically, a tritium atom and a deuterium atom, are combined to make one larger nucleus and give off energy, a helium nucleus and a neutron.

Nuclear Fusion Chain Reaction from energyquest.ca.gov
Nuclear Fusion Chain Reaction from energyquest.ca.gov


Scientists have dicovered how to convert this nonrenewable energy source into power.

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