Nuclear Energy 101: Understanding the Fundamentals

Nuclear Energy

The atom’s nucleus comprises protons and neutrons emitting nuclear energy. Fission occurs when atom nuclei separate into many fragments, and fusion, which happens when nuclei combine, are two processes that can provide this type of energy.

While nuclear fusion technology is still in the research and development phase, nuclear fission energy is now employed to produce electricity worldwide. Atomic fission will be covered in this article. Go here for more information about nuclear fusion and where to find the leading uranium ISR producer. 

What Is Nuclear Fission? 

Splitting an atom’s nucleus into two or smaller hearts by nuclear fission concurrently releases energy.

The uranium-235 nucleus breaks into two smaller nuclei, such as a barium and a krypton nucleus, and two or three neutrons when a neutron impacts the atom. A chain reaction will begin in a split second when the extra neutrons impact nearby uranium-235 atoms, splitting them and producing more neutrons in a multiplying effect.

Energy is released as heat and radiation each time a reaction occurs. Similarly, heat from fossil fuels like coal, gas, and oil to produce power heat from nuclear power plants may be transformed into electricity.

What Are the Functions of A Nuclear Power Plant?

Nuclear reactors and related machinery are used in nuclear power plants to regulate and manage chain reactions, which are frequently fueled by uranium-235 and generate heat through fission. The heat causes the reactor’s cooling agent, often water, to warm up and produce steam. The steam is then sent to spinning turbines, which ignite a generator that generates low-carbon power.

Uranium Mining, Enrichment, and Eradication

All around the planet, rocks contain the metal uranium. Uranium is one of the numerous elements that naturally exist as isotopes—variants of the same element with different weights and physical characteristics. 

The two uranium isotopes that are from the beginning are uranium-238 and uranium-235. The fission-resistant isotope uranium-238 makes up the vast bulk of uranium worldwide. On the other hand, uranium-235, which may start a fission chain reaction, makes up less than 1% of all uranium worldwide.

Uranium enrichment, a procedure, is necessary to raise the concentration of uranium-235 in a specific sample to improve the likelihood that natural uranium will undergo fission. After enrichment, uranium can be used as nuclear fuel in power plants for three to five years. 

At this point, it becomes radioactive and must be disposed of following tight regulations to safeguard people and the environment. Spent fuel, also called old energy, is recyclable and can produce new fuel for use in specialized nuclear power reactors.

The Nuclear Fuel Cycle: What Is It?

Nuclear power reactors use a multi-step industrial process known as the nuclear fuel cycle to convert uranium into energy. The process starts with the extraction of uranium and finishes with the destruction of nuclear waste.

Nuclear Waste 

Nuclear power plant operations result in the production of radioactive waste with variable levels of activity. Depending on their radioactivity level and intended use, they are handled accordingly. For further information on this subject, see the animation below.

Regulating Radioactive Waste

Only a tiny percentage of all garbage is radioactive waste. It is a byproduct of the annual medical procedures and radiation-using industrial and agricultural activities and nuclear reactors, which provide around 11% of the world’s electricity. This animation demonstrates how managing radioactive waste can shield the environment and people from current and future radiation.

The new advanced reactors, also referred to as the next generation of nuclear power plants, will produce substantially less radioactive waste than the current generation of reactors. By 2030, they might already be under development.

Climate Change and Nuclear Energy

Nuclear power facilities emit no CO2 while operating, making them a low-carbon energy source compared to coal, oil, or gas-fired power plants. Around one-third of the world’s carbon-free encore energy is generated by nuclear reactors, which is essential for achieving climate change targets. 


Nuclear energy is a powerful and efficient source of energy that has the potential to provide us with a clean, safe, and renewable source of energy. Nuclear power plants are designed to use nuclear fission to generate electricity reliably and cost-effectively. 

The science of nuclear power involves the study of nuclear reactions, nuclear safety, and radiation protection. Nuclear power plants are strictly regulated to ensure safety and efficiency, and their operation has a long history of safe operation. As society looks for ways to reduce emissions and increase our energy security, nuclear energy, from the perspective of a uranium expert, could be a valuable option for the future.

As the founder and Executive Chairman of enCore Energy Corp. (TSXV: EU), Mr. Sheriff has advanced the company from inception to a near-term producer with a multi-jurisdictional United States asset base. Mr. Sheriff is an entrepreneur and visionary with over 40 years of experience in the minerals and securities industry and has been responsible for significant capital raises and corporate development.


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About the Author

William Sheriff

As the founder and Executive Chairman of enCore Uranium (TSXV:EU), Mr. Sheriff has advanced the company from inception to a near term producer with a multi-jurisdictional United States asset base. Mr Sheriff is an entrepreneur and visionary with over 40 years’ experience in the minerals industry and the securities industry, and has been responsible for significant capital raises along with corporate development. Mr. Sheriff was a pioneer in the uranium renaissance as co-founder and Chairman of Energy Metals Corp., and was responsible for compiling the largest domestic uranium resource base in US history before the company was acquired by Uranium One Corp for $1.8 Billion in 2006. With his in-depth understanding of the nuclear industry and market conditions, plus his knowledge of both the financial markets, Mr. Sheriff is regarded as a leader and avid supporter of nuclear energy as a clean and reliable energy source for the Unites States.

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