What is Nuclear Energy

The common definition for nuclear energy is the energy released by a nuclear reaction, especially by fission or fusion. Practically speaking, nuclear energy uses fuel made from mined and processed uranium to make steam and generate electricity.

Nuclear generation is the only source of electricity that can produce large amounts of power – known as baseload power—reliably without emitting greenhouse gases.

Nuclear energy has one of the lowest environmental impacts on land and natural resources of any electricity source.


A naturally occurring, mildly radioactive element. Uranium-235 is an isotope found as approximately 0.7 percent of natural uranium. Uranium-235 can undergo fission, making it an ideal fuel for nuclear reactors.
Nuclear energy

The energy that is released during a nuclear reaction. Splitting atoms (fission) and fusing atoms (fusion) both release nuclear energy. Today's nuclear power plants use fission to produce energy, which allow them to generate electricity on a large scale.
Nuclear reaction

A reaction that releases the nuclear forces that bind the center of an atom. Fission is a nuclear reaction that results in the splitting of an atom. Fusion is a nuclear reaction that joins atoms. Both reactions release large amounts of energy. Nuclear power plants use nuclear fission reactions to

The minimum amount of electricity needed to meet year-round demand. Electricity demand varies from summer to winter and between night and day.
Greenhouse gases

Gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. Examples include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide.
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