Nuclear Energy

- the energy that holds the NUCLEUS (protons and neutrons) of an atom together.

Potential

The nucleus of every atom is made up of

protons (+ positive charge) and

neutrons (0 neutral charge).

Protons are all positive and would love to repel each other.

The nuclear energy allows for the nucleus to stay together.

Imagine squeezing a Nerf ball. The ball "wants" to expand to its original shape but cannot because the force of your hand is too great.

Nuclear energy is like an invisible hand that holds the nucleus (Nerf ball) together. (Remember that it would fly apart if it could.)

 

Kinetic

Nuclear energy is used when the nucleus of a large atom like Uranium or Plutonium is forced apart by a speeding neutron.

The energy that DID hold it together is now available for other things like heat, mechanical, radiant and sound.

This is called nuclear fission.

When nuclear fission goes unchecked it causes a "chain reaction" and forces open all of the available nuclei.

A HUGE amount of energy is released.

Einstein helped a team of scientists to learn how to harness the energy of the atom. He knew that if Americans didn't learn how to use nuclear energy then the Nazis would, making the war very difficult to win.

Nuclear energy convinced Japan to surrender to the Allied Powers. The first bombs were compared to kilotons of dynamite. Now there are weapons that are equal to 100,000 tons of dynamite!

We can only hope that this energy isn't needed like this again.

A better way to use nuclear energy is to allow fission to occur in a more controlled environment. A nuclear reactor is a place where nuclear energy is transformed into electrical energy. Here fission releases energy as heat while underwater. The water turns to steam and turns the turbine of an electric generator.

Play this simulation to help you understand RADIOACTIVE DECAY

Play the NUCLEAR FISSION, CHAIN REACTION, and NUCLEAR REACTOR simulation

How is a nuclear bomb different from a nuclear reactor?
A nuclear reactor is designed to be controlled. The control rods keep the nuclear reactor from overheating. They do this by seperating the rods of Uranium and keeping them from going through nuclear fission.

 

Control rods remind me of a wild tiger in a cage. The tiger, like nuclear energy, could do GREAT damage but the cage was designed to control something very dangerous.

A nuclear bomb is designed to be uncontrolled.

Without control rods the chain reaction can get as hot as possible. The Russian power plant in Chernobyl went through a "meltdown" because its energy went uncontrolled.
It reminds me of the caged tiger WITHOUT THE CAGE!

 

 

 

ENERGY

BASICS

Chemical

Heat

Electro - magnetic

Mechanical

Nuclear

Radiant

Sound

 

HUGHES

HOME

Team X-treme

HOME