Atomic Energy

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The concept of atom has existed for many centuries. But in recent years, we began to understand the enormous power generated by atomic energy/nuclear energy. In the years just before and during World War II, nuclear research focused mainly on the development of defence weapons. Later, scientists concentrated on peaceful applications of nuclear technology. An important use of nuclear energy is the generation of electricity. After years of research, scientists have successfully applied nuclear technology to many other scientific, medical, and industrial purposes.

The energy released when two atoms are made to bombarded with each other is generally called as atomic energy. Atomic energy is the source of Nuclear power, which uses sustained nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity. This energy is not only used to generate electricity but also used to create atomic bombs.

Although they are tiny, atoms have a large amount of energy holding their nuclei together. Certain isotopes of some elements can be split and will release part of their energy as heat. This splitting is called fission. The heat released in fission can be used to help generate electric energy in power plants. An important event that is responsible for atomic energy is called Nuclear fission.

The splitting of one atom into one or two atoms by releasing large amount of energy is called nuclear fission.

  • Uranium-235 (U-235) is one of the isotopes that fissions easily. During fission, U-235 atoms absorb loose neutrons.
  • This causes U-235 to become unstable and split into two light atoms called fission products.

Important applications of atomic energy

Atomic energy is used in almost all the fields in this modern world. Some of them are listed below,

  • Atomic energy is used Food and Agriculture industries.
  • Atomic energy is used in major and minor surgies and plays an important role in Human Health
  • Atomic energy is used in Detecting Leaks in Pipelines
  • Atomic energy is used in the Determination of Age
  • Atomic energy is used in Use in Space
  • Atomic energy is used in Generating Electricity

Interesting facts about electric energy

  • Atomic energy, in the simplest way, can be defined as the energy released due to a nuclear reaction.
  • Uranium undergoes nuclear fission to form this atomic energy.
  • The discovery of atomic energy started immediately after the discovery of radioactive elements.
  • Although it is believed that Henri Becquerel discovered atomic energy, contributions of several other scientists like Enrico Fermi, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann, proved invaluable.
  • Their individual contributions in radioactivity and nuclear chemistry helped in production of this atomic  energy.

More Interesting facts about electric energy

  • Atomic  energy is formed due to the conversion of mass to energy, that takes place due to splitting of atoms.
  • This atomic  energy can be calculated using Dr. Albert Einstein’s famous formula E = mc2 (where E is energy, m is mass, and c2 is the speed of light).
  • Uranium (U-235) is the most widely used fuel for generation of atomic energy, as its atoms split easily.
  • Around 15-18% of the world’s electricity and nearly 20% electricity in the USA comes from atomic energy.

Interesting facts about electric energy

  • Until the recent data available, there are around 104 atomic power plants in the USA, and more than 400 all around the world, that produce atomic energy.
  • No harmful gases are emitted during the production of this energy. Therefore, it is considered as one of the best sources of energy without any air pollution.
  • However, atomic energy facts also suggest that there are chances of episodes like the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 in Ukraine, occurring again.
  • When talking about uses of atomic energy, production of energy and electricity is the biggest benefits. However, the increasing danger of nuclear weapons also looms over the whole world.
  • Nuclear power plants, nuclear reactors, nuclear submarines, radiation therapy, etc. are also some of the examples of  atomic energy.

Other types of Atomic Energy