Definitions for "nuclear energy"
Energy derived from nuclear reactions; -- used at present especially of electrical power generated in atomic reactors, but encompassing also fusion energy.
The tiny nucleus at the center of the atom contains the most powerful force ever discovered. This force gives us nuclear energy, sometimes called atomic energy. The most complicated element that occurs in nature is uranium. The nuclear fuel used in nuclear power plants is a rare form of uranium called uranium-235. When the nucleus of a uranium-235 atom is struck by a neutron (see atom), it breaks apart and more neutrons shoot out. These new neutrons strike other uranium nuclei, causing them to split and give out still more neutrons. In this way, more and more nuclei split, and many atoms give up their energy at once. If the action is not controlled, a tremendous explosion takes place – the explosion that powers nuclear weapons. Nuclear energy can be controlled to provide us with power. In a nuclear power plant, control rods are lowered into the reactor to keep the reaction in check. But the uranium still gets very hot, and so a coolant, a liquid or a gas, moves through the reactor. When the hot coolant leaves the reactor, it goes to a boiler to make steam. It is this steam that powers generators to make electricity for our homes and factories.
The energy liberated by a nuclear reaction (fission or fusion) or by spontaneous radioactivity.