As we have learned more about the structure in atoms,
humans have devised ways to harness/use the energy
contained in them.
Nuclear fusion occurs when two nuclei collide and merge to
form a single atom. Some of the matter is converted to
energy, so matter is not conserved.
The sun is a fusion reactor. The light/heat we experience is
the result of H atoms combining to form He.
Fusion reactors are an ideal source of renewable energy,
however the technology has not been developed to contain or
control the reactions.
Fusion reactors could replace our need for fossil fuels.
Nuclear fission is a process
where atoms are split apart
and energy is released.
In the right example, a
neutron is used to create a
Uranium isotope, which is
So, it immediately splits into
smaller particles and releases
large amounts of energy.
Fission is controlled in nuclear power plants in order to
Once a fission reaction
is started, water flow
absorbs the heat energy
and is carried away.
control the reaction and
prevent it from ‘getting
out of control.’
Lead-lined concrete is used to prevent any excess radiation
from leaking in to the environment. It also contains excess
heat that is produced.
In 1986, the Chernobyl disaster occurred in Ukraine. A fire
and large explosion in a nuclear power plant spread
radioactive particles into the atmosphere and local areas.
As a result,
many died from
Due to residual radiation,
children and animals conceived
in the area experienced
increased rates of genetic
Very little footage is available
from the location itself, as
radiation interfered with the
Effects of the explosion are still
results in massive
explosions of energy,
which is what is used in
atomic fission bombs.