Nuclear energy has the advantage of not burning any fuel so there are no pollutants released into the air.
Nuclear energy is energy that is stored in the nucleus or center core of an atom. The nucleus of an atom is made of tiny particles of protons (+ positive charge) and neutrons (no charge). The electrons (- negative charge) move around the nucleus. Nuclear energy is the force that holds the nucleus together in an atom.
How it Works
In order to use this energy, it has to be released from the atom. There are two ways to free the energy inside the atom:
Fusion is a way of combining the atoms to make a new atom.
For example, the energy from the sun is produced by fusion. Inside the sun, hydrogen atoms are combined to make helium. Helium doesn't need that much energy to hold it together, so the extra energy produced is released as heat and light.
Fission is the term for splitting an atom into two smaller atoms. The two smaller atoms don't need as much energy to hold them together as the larger atom, so the extra energy is released as heat and radiation.
Nuclear power plants use the heat released from fission to make electricity. By splitting uranium atoms into two smaller atoms, the extra energy is released as heat. Uranium is a mineral rock, a very dense metal found in the ground, and it is non-renewable. Non-renewable means we cannot make more of the substance. Currently, it is a cheap and plentiful fuel source.
Heat created by fission is used inside a nuclear reactor to turn water into steam. The steam turns huge turbines that drive generators to make electricity. The steam is then changed back into water and cooled down in a cooling tower. This water can then be used over and over again.
Copyright © 2009 Apogee | Acknowledgements
Kids Korner is made possible by the creative, talented and dedicated team consisting of the following:
Valerie Williams, Apogee’s Art Director and Lead Artist is the creator and artistic talent behind Kids Korner. In the late 90s, after producing hundreds of illustrations and animations for Apogee online courses and Internet content over the years, it occurred to Valerie that these expensive art elements could be re-purposed for communicating complicated energy concepts to children. Encouraged by the enthusiastic reaction she received from our utility customers, Valerie undertook the design and began the curriculum development of what has become one of the most elaborate and comprehensive energy education sites around. As the site shows, her artistic flair brings technical topics to life, and her proficiency in Photoshop, Quark, In-Design, Illustrator, Flash and Dreamweaver enable her to create impressive designs in both electronic and print formats.
Margaret M. Aderholdt, a middle school teacher at Wellborn Elementary in Anniston, Alabama, leads Apogee’s teacher advisory group. In this capacity, she is the spokesperson for the group, providing input to the curriculum developed for Kids Korner and kid-testing any support materials designed for use with the site prior to them going into production and distributed to customers or schools. With more than 16 years teaching experience, Margaret has been awarded numerous grants and honors for herself and the various schools at which she has instructed. Most recently, she was named the 2004 Teacher of the Year for her outstanding work increasing her student’s test scores, expanding their involvement in academic pursuits, and her tireless efforts to stimulate and challenge her students to higher achievement. Margaret spends her summers attending professional development conferences, workshops, and classes to stay abreast of the latest research in science education. Margaret earned her B.A. in Business Administration at Transylvania University and holds a masters degree in International Commerce from the University of Kentucky. After raising two college age daughters, Margaret returned to the classroom herself to earn a masters degree in Elementary Education.
Michael Overstreet is Apogee’s Kids Korner Product Manager and the mastermind of the site’s programming and navigational design. In his role as product manager, Michael assists utilities with the implementation of their customized Kids Korner application. In addition, he leads Apogee’s field testing of all Kids Korner website activities and supplemental material, conducting classroom trials in local schools.
Susan Gilbert brings to Kids Korner and its growing number of support materials her education and experience as an instructional designer and her enthusiasm for energy education. As president and co-founder of Apogee, Susan is the primary architect behind Apogee’s online energy courses and web content divisions, effectively translating her nearly 25 years of energy efficiency and training experience into highly interactive, online training courseware and Web site tools. Drawing upon her masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction, Susan directs the instructional design process for all Apogee eLearning initiatives, including her personal favorite, Kids Korner.
Dick Niess is Kids Korner’s technical reviewer responsible for assuring accuracy and clarity of the concepts covered on the site. A distinguished Tau Beta Pi graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, Mr. Niess earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering. Mr. Niess is a Fellow of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), is immediate past Chairman of the Applied Heat Pump and Heat Recovery Technical Committee, and serves on the Geothermal Energy Utilization and Centrifugal Machines Technical Committees. He is a repeat contributor to the ASHRAE Systems Handbook, and has authored numerous technical publications for the energy industry.