When we talk about nuclear energy we immediately relate it to the production of electricity and to various historical events, such as the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the nuclear accident in Chernobyl on September 9, 1982 and, as the most recent nuclear disaster, the earthquake and tsunami accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011. Nuclear power is relatively young, having come into use not long ago weather. The first nuclear bomb that was created was by the US during World War II and it was from then on that this type of nuclear energy began to be used in the civilian world, after verifying its potential.
Currently, France is the leading country in nuclear energy production, followed by the US, Sweden and Russia. Most nuclear energy is generated through nuclear fission in nuclear reactors to generate electricity and by harnessing the heat generated by fission. If you are interested in knowing the uses and the way in which this energy is obtained, keep reading this interesting AgroCorrn article about 10 examples of nuclear energy and its uses .
What is nuclear energy and how is it produced?
Nuclear energy is that which is obtained from the atoms in a nuclear plant , specifically from the energy that is inside its nucleus . An atom is the smallest or smallest unit of an element, its nucleus is composed of neutrons and protons and in its orbit it has several electrons, the number of electrons depends on the type of chemical element in question.
What are the types of nuclear energy? There are two types of nuclear energy that exist. To release this energy from the interior of the atoms, fission or nuclear fusion must occur in a controlled environment in a nuclear plant, it is not possible to release this energy chemically.
Nuclear fission releases energy from inside atoms through fragmentation. For this division to occur, the atomic nucleus is bombarded by neutrons to make it more unstable and decomposing into two nuclei with the same mass.
Nuclear fusion releases energy after the union of two atomic nuclei that fuse after colliding at very high speeds to obtain a new atomic nucleus. The energy that is useful results from how much of the matter in the nuclei is transformed into photons.
Regarding the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy, we can say that the most relevant thing is that nuclear energy allows reducing the use of fossil fuels and therefore reducing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, as well as the amount of electrical energy that is used. it produces since nuclear power plants are running all the time. As a disadvantage we have the great catastrophes mentioned at the beginning of the article that use this type of energy in armed conflicts. You can delve into this topic with this other post on the Advantages and Disadvantages of nuclear energy .
The uses of nuclear energy are diverse, the most common of which is the production of electricity, below will name different examples of nuclear energy and its applications:
- Generation of electricity.
- Military applications and nuclear weapons.
- Nuclear medicine.
- Pest control in food crops.
- Food preservation.
- Nuclear cars.
- Water purification.
- Space missions.
- Archaeological finds.
- Nuclear mining.
Generation of electricity
It is the best known and most common use of nuclear energy, since electricity is a necessary resource in today’s society for its development. Large amounts of energy are generated inexpensively from uranium atoms through nuclear fission.
You can learn more about this example of the use of nuclear energy by knowing more about what is electrical energy and examples .
Nuclear weapons and other military applications
The industries dedicated to the manufacture of armaments are always the pioneers in new technologies, even in the field of nuclear energy. Two uses of nuclear energy stand out in this field: propulsion and explosion.
On the one hand, propulsion is used as a source of heat and electricity, as an example we have the case of military aircraft , and, on the other hand, the explosion that causes a chain of nuclear reactions, as an example we can indicate the atomic bomb .
In medicine, nuclear energy is used both to perform diagnostic tests, such as x-rays , and to give treatments, such as radiation therapy for cancer. More and more patients around the world have been treated with nuclear energy, since it gives good results and quickly, although not without some side effects.
Application of nuclear energy to food: pests and conservation
This technique is based on the control of pests through radiation with nuclear energy that causes the sterilization of insects, it is a technique that has so many defenders, who assure that it does not affect food or the people who consume them, such as detractors who are in favor of traditional production methods and see various drawbacks in this application.
This nuclear-powered technique will extend the life of foods that deteriorate rapidly, such as fruits or fish.
It is proposed to use nuclear power for cars in order to limit carbon dioxide pollution. One of the bets that are being developed is the creation of a battery that works with hydrogen that would be responsible for feeding the car for its movement.
For these missions, the chemical element from which the energy is extracted is Plutonium-238 , its energy is obtained through nuclear fission to generate heat or electricity that will be used in space probes . This technique has already been used on missions to Saturn, Jupiter, and Pluto. The last mission to use this nuclear energy was on Mars.
In this activity, the nucleating energy is used to determine the age of archaeological , geological or anthropological finds through a test with radioactive Carbon, Carbon 14 . Carbon 14 has a radioactive isotope that allows us to determine the years of any remnant that has organic matter.
Mining is an activity that implies a strong impact on the environment, since to be carried out requires deforestation, loss of biodiversity, erosion, contamination of aquifers and also requires a large amount of energy that is currently obtained from fuels fossils, specifically diesel.
Therefore, various projects have been proposed to obtain this energy from nuclear energy and, for this, small nuclear power plants would be built near the place where the mining activity is taking place .
This application is very useful for countries with severe droughts and a shortage of fresh or potable water , but at the moment it is not easily applied. Thanks to the heat generated in nuclear reactors, it could be used for the desalination of seawater in a fast and efficient way, guaranteeing its potability and solving the great problem of drought that affects so many countries.
Now that you know various examples of the uses of nuclear energy , we encourage you to learn more about it with this video about its advantages and disadvantages.
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