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The energy released during a nuclear reaction is called Nuclear Energy


Nuclear reactions are of two types

  1. Nuclear Fission 
  2. Nuclear Fusion


Let’s study both of them

Nuclear Fission

In Nuclear Fission,

Nucleus of a Heavy Atom like Uranium, Plutonium, Thorium

is bombarded with low-energy neutrons,

And it splits into lighter nuclei

Nuclear Fission - teachoo.png


This difference in mass between the original nucleus and the nuclei after fission gives rise to tremendous energy.

This energy is given by the Equation

E = mc 2  

Where  m is difference of mass

& c is Speed of Light


The fission of an atom of Uranium produces 10 million times the energy produced by burning Coal


We use Nuclear Fission to generate Electricity in a Nuclear Power Plant


Nuclear Fusion

In Nuclear Fusion, we join lighter lighter nucleus to make a heavier nucleus

Nuclear Fusion - teachoo.png

It produces a tremendous amount of energy, and this same energy is the source of energy in Sun and Stars


The conditions required for fusion are extreme - millions of degrees of temperature and million of pascals of pressure.


What happens in a Nuclear Bomb?

In a Nuclear Bomb ,

  • Fission of Uranium or Plutonium takes place at the Core
  • This core is embedded in a substance containing Deuterium and Lithium
  • When the bomb is detonated, fission takes place and the temperature of this substance is raised to 10 7 K  in a few microseconds.
  • This provides the conditions for fusion of lighter nuclei to take place, 
  • and due to Nuclear fusion, a devastating amount of energy is released


Nuclear Power Plants

Nuclear power plant is based on the idea of nuclear fission.

Nuclear Power Plant - teachoo.png

In a Nuclear Power Plant, nuclear fuel undergoes self-sustaining fission reaction,

which releases energy at a controlled rate

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Koodankulam, Tamil Nadu.jpg

Advantages of Nuclear Energy

  • It produces a large amount of energy for a small amount of fuel
  • Once we put the nuclear fuel in the reactor, it can produce energy for 2 or 3 years continuously, we do not need to put fuel again and again
  • No greenhouse gas is emitted while producing Nuclear Energy

Disadvantages of Nuclear Energy

  • Major hazard of Nuclear Power Generation is the disposal of used fuels - used Uranium still decays into subatomic particles (i.e. radiations)
  • Improper Nuclear Waste storage and disposal results in environmental contamination
  • There is risk of leakage of Nuclear Radiation
  • The Nuclear fuels - such as Uranium has limited availability
  • Setting up a Nuclear Energy Power Plant has a high cost
  1. Class 10
  2. Chapter 14 Class 10 - Sources of Energy

About the Author

Davneet Singh's photo - Teacher, Computer Engineer, Marketer
Davneet Singh
Davneet Singh is a graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 9 years. He provides courses for Maths and Science at Teachoo.