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. 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 reactions and radiation
Nuclear reactions involve changes in an atom’s nucleus and thus causes a change in the atom itself. Unlike normal chemical reactions that form molecules, nuclear reactions result in the transmutation of one element into a different isotope or a different element altogether. There are two types of nuclear reactions. The first is the radioactive decay of bonds within the nucleus that emit radiation as it decays or transforms to a more stable state. The second is the “billiard ball” type of reactions, where the nucleus or a nuclear particle (like a proton) is slammed into by another nucleus or nuclear particle.
What is nuclear damage?
Nuclear damage is explained as any injury to or the death, sickness or disease of a person; or damage to the environment including loss of property which arises from ionising radiation associated with a nuclear installation, nuclear vessel or handling of radioactive materials.
What is nuclear safety?
Nuclear safety means the achievement of safe operating conditions, prevention of nuclear accidents or mitigation of nuclear accident consequences, resulting in the protection of workers, the public and the environment against the potential harmful effects of ionizing radiation or radioactive material.