Author: Ashlan Brantley
We have all heard the equation E=Mc2 created by scientist Albert Einstein. But do we all really know what it stands for? The E stands for energy, nuclear energy. The energy is amassed in the center, or nucleus, of an atom. Since this energy is enclosed in the nucleus, it is called nuclear energy. This energy is set free when the nucleus splits apart. The process that takes place is called fission. Fission is when the atom breaks apart and splits up into smaller atoms. Nuclear energy uses this process called fission to generate your heat and electricity. More than fifteen percent of the energy used in our world is actually nuclear energy.
Some people believe that nuclear energy is harmful to the environment. I, however, believe that it is in some ways, but also isn’t. When used as a reactor fuel, it creates radioactive waste. Since it may be radioactive, this may be harmful to humans, animals, and other living organisms. If a power plant produces fossil fuels, they will most likely poison the atmosphere and environment, which helps cause pollution. However, some people now consider it green energy. Power pants dedicated to nuclear energy do not pollute the air or create carbon dioxide, which is very good for the environment. I’ll let you decide for yourself: is nuclear energy harmful or helpful for the environment?
You have probably heard of nuclear bombs. It has led you to believe that they are used in war. Actually, only two have ever been used in warfare. Both were used in Japan, one in Hiroshima and the other in Nagasaki during World War two, causing Japan to surrender. So believe it or not, nuclear bombs are actually rarely used in wars.
Although we have already learned about one way nuclear energy is made, there is one more in progress. Scientists are working on coming up with a way where atoms fuse together. This new work in progress is called fusion. The energy is released when atoms fuse (combine together), literally. They join together, forming a much bigger atom. Early on there was excitement all about this new source of energy, however, there was also a fear because it was associated with weaponry. Today in history there is excitement about the discovery of fusion and that fission is now considered a source of green energy. There are so many possibilities and new things about nuclear energy that are yet to be discovered.