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Nuclear Energy Facts

Our universe is made up of tiny, invisible particles called atoms. There are so many atoms, and it’s hard to imagine. 

A pinhead has millions of atoms. A nucleus is the center of an atom, where nuclear energy lies.

Nuclear Energy Facts for Kids

  • Nuclear power was first developed in 1942.
  • In the U.S., about 100 power plants operate.
  • The world has about 400 commercial nuclear power plants.
  • Energy from nuclear sources lasts forever without polluting the air.
  • Japan, France, and the US are the top nuclear producers.
  • Nuclear power provides about 20% of U.S. electricity.
  • The French produce 72% of their electricity this way.
  • Most nuclear reactors use uranium-235.
  • Some submarines and aircraft carriers are also powered by nuclear reactors.

Nuclear Plant

The United States produces the most nuclear power. In 2020, renewable energy surpassed coal in terms of electricity generation for the first time.

Around 20% of the nation’s electricity comes from commercial nuclear power plants.

Nuclear Fuel

Nuclear fuel is very dense    

As a result, the amount of used nuclear fuel is smaller than you think.

It is estimated that U.S. nuclear energy produced enough used nuclear fuel over the past 60 years to fill a football field.

Nuclear Reaction

The Sun has nuclear reactions.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

They also happen in nuclear reactors and in space. Except in these special places, very few nuclear reactions occur on earth. 

They are used in nuclear reactors to make heat and electricity.

Radioactive Material

Radioactive waste is created during nuclear medicine, nuclear research, nuclear power generation, rare-earth mining, and nuclear weapons reprocessing.

Hazardous waste is any material or substance that can cause harm if released into the environment.

Hazardous wastes include radioactive materials.

Nuclear Submarines

Submarines powered by nuclear reactors aren’t necessarily nuclear-armed. Their range is virtually unlimited, and they can operate without refueling for long periods of time.

They use nuclear reactors to generate electricity and steam. It also powers the submarine’s other subsystems, including air quality, freshwater production, temperature regulation, etc.

Nuclear chain reactions create heat in these reactors.

How is Nuclear Energy Formed?

Nuclear energy is generated by splitting uranium atoms, which generate heat and steam to produce electricity. Nuclear power plants do not produce greenhouse gas emissions.

How is Nuclear Energy Released?

Nuclear energy is released from an atom through one of two processes: nuclear fusion. Uranium is the most widely used fuel for fissioning in nuclear power plants and is found in rocks all over the world.

What is nuclear fission?

Atoms break to release energy. Smaller atoms are formed.

How does Nuclear Fusion Work

Fusion occurs when two nuclei join to form one. Certain kinds of atoms can release nuclear energy without fission or fusion. They are radioactive. The Sun undergoes nuclear fusion naturally.

History of Nuclear Energy

Nuclear energy is a new way to produce energy. It was first used in World War II to make a bomb, and then in the 1960s, the industry experienced rapid growth until the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979.