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Nuclear energy

From Academic Kids

Nuclear energy is energy released from the nucleus of an atom by the conversion of its mass to energy consistent with Albert Einstien's formula E=mc˛ in which E = Energy, m = Mass and c = the Constant Speed of Light. Nuclear energy is released by one of three nuclear reactions:

  • Fission, the breaking of the binding forces of an atom's nucleus.
  • Fusion, the fusing together of atomic particles.
  • Decay, which is the natural and much slower form of Fission.

Nuclear energy was first discovered accidentally by French physicist Henri Becquerel in 1896 when he found photographic plates stored near aluminium compounds behaved as though they had been exposed to light in a manner similar to the recently discoverd X-Ray. [1] (http://www.aip.org/history/curie/resbr1.htm). During World War II the United States of America used Nuclear energy to power submarines and to destroy the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by means of the atomic bomb. After the War, the Nuclear reactor designs of submarines were scaled up to provide electricity and today supply between 2.5% and 6.8% of the World's energy. In order to use Nuclear energy safely, it is necessary to prevent the reactions from overheating, to store the spent fuel for thousands of years in such a way that the radiation is contained and to ensure that radioactive material does not get into the hands of people with malicious intent.

See also Nuclear power for the commercial production of electricty from nuclear energy.

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