The word ‘nuclear’ is related to the nucleus of an atom, it is often used to describe the energy produced when a nucleus is split (fission) or joined with another (fusion).
The nucleus is positively charged and found at the central core of an atom.
Nuclear physics is the study of atomic nuclei and their interactions.
Nuclear power uses fission to create heat and electricity.
The US, France and Japan are the largest producers of nuclear power.
Nuclear power provides around 14% of the world’s electricity.
Nuclear power plants have a relatively good safety record but there is ongoing debate into the threat they pose, especially after widely publicized accidents at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island and Fukushima.
The radioactive waste produced by nuclear reactors can be difficult to dispose of safely.
The military often use nuclear reactors to power their submarines and aircraft carriers. Learn more about atomic energy with our nuclear power facts.
Nuclear weapons use the energy produced by fission or fusion to create destructive blasts.
While many nuclear weapons have been used in testing, only 2 have been used as part of warfare.
In August 1945, near the end of World War 2, the United States used atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leading to the death of approximately 200000 people.
Enriched uranium is a crucial element of both nuclear weapons and nuclear power production.
The Sun creates energy through the nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium.
- It is believed that radiation exposure led to the death of Marie Curie in 1934. Learn more about her important research into radioactivity with our range of Marie Curie facts.