What is Nuclear Energy?

Electricity can be produced by using the energy produced in nuclear reaction. The nuclear reaction from which the obtained energy is used to produce electricity is called nuclear fission. Here, uranium is made to react with a neutron of particular amount of energy. This reaction takes place in a nuclear reactor. In nuclear reaction usually matter that is mass is transformed into energy. But in nuclear reaction only a small fraction of energy of the total mass is transformed into energy.

If mass is transformed and E amount of energy is obtained, then, E = mc2

Here m is the mass transformed into energy.

c is the speed of light that is equal to 3 x 108 ms-1. From experiment it is known that in a fission reaction, that is, if a neutron of definite energy strikes a uranium nucleus, then almost

200 Mev = 200 x 106 ev = 200 x 106 x 1.6 x 10-19 J = 3.2 x 10-11 J energy is released.

Since nuclear fission is a chain reaction, hence in a moment crores of reactions take place and huge amount of energy is released.

The nuclear energy obtained from this reaction can be transferred to another container as the internal energy of carbon dioxide, by pumping continuously at high pressure in a controlled way. This heated gas moves around a special steam boiler and heats the steam inside which can rotate a turbine and produce electricity. The amount of energy obtained from a ton of uranium by a nuclear reaction will be equal to the amount of energy obtained from burning ten lac tons of coal.

But there are some problems of nuclear energy or power plants. The waste of nuclear fuel is extremely radioactive and so it has to be preserved for thousands of years to make it safe. Moreover, in a nuclear reactor high temperature and pressure is produced. So it has to be made of such a material that can tolerate the high temperature and pressure.

Any nuclear accident is very dangerous which we can realize from the accidents of Chernobyl in Soviet Union (at present Ukraine) and Fukushima in Japan. In nuclear power production less greenhouse gas is released in the environment.