Nuclear energy is the energy or power generated by carrying out controlled chemical reactions. It is one of the most sought after types of energy these days, as it is considered a substitute to the conventional sources of energy. Nuclear energy is formed in a nuclear reactor, which is used to control chemical reactions.
Facts about Nuclear Energy
The following facts will help you know how nuclear energy is formed, its history, as well as the advantages and disadvantages.
- Nuclear energy, in the simplest way, can be defined as the energy released due to a nuclear reaction. Uranium undergoes nuclear fission to form this energy.
- The discovery of this energy started immediately after the discovery of radioactive elements.
- Although it is believed that Henri Becquerel discovered nuclear energy, contributions of several other scientists like Enrico Fermi, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann, proved invaluable. Their individual contributions in radioactivity and nuclear chemistry helped in the discovery of this energy.
- Nuclear energy is formed due to the conversion of mass to energy, that takes place due to splitting of atoms. This energy can be calculated using Dr. Albert Einstein's famous formula E = mc2 (where E is energy, m is mass, and c2 is the speed of light).
- This energy creates more energy as compared to other energy sources like wind and tidal energy.
- Uranium (U-235) is the most widely used fuel for the generation of nuclear energy, as its atoms split easily.
- Around 15-18% of the world's electricity and nearly 20% electricity in the USA comes from nuclear energy.
- As per the recent data available, there are around 104 nuclear power plants in the USA, and more than 400 all around the world that produce nuclear energy.
- No harmful gases are emitted during the production of this energy. Therefore, it is considered as one of the best sources of energy without any air pollution.
- However, facts also suggest that there are chances of episodes like the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986 in Ukraine, occurring again. Although there are large number of safety facilities available today, one cannot totally prevent its recurrence.
- When talking about the uses of nuclear energy, production of energy and electricity are the major uses. However, the increasing danger of nuclear weapons also looms over the whole world.
- Apart from the production of electricity, applications of nuclear energy are found in various fields like industries, medicine, agriculture, food preservation, etc.
- Lastly, we cannot ignore the risks and consequences of radioactive exposure and the never-ending problem of radioactive wastes.