31+ Nuclear Energy Examples: Detailed Facts

The nucleus is present in the center of the atom which consists of the protons as well as neutrons.

Nuclear energy is the energy arising from the nucleus of the atom. The nucleus stores a huge amount of energy that binds the protons and neutrons in a cluster at the center. Let us discuss some of the nuclear energy examples as listed below:-

Nuke Power

It is used in the steam turbines to generate electricity using the nuclear energy in the nuclear power plant that generates heat.

Nuclear Power Plants

Nuclear power plants are basically constructed to transfer nuclear energy into electrical energy. Nuclear energy is released as the parent nuclei fusses to produce two daughter nuclei.

The unstable nuclei set into mobility and bombard with other nuclei transmitting the energy. The subsequent nuclei gain the extra energy and become unstable and split into two nuclei and migrate in two different and opposite directions.

nuclear energy examples
Nuclear Power Plant; Image Credit: Pixabay


Radioactivity is a decay of the nucleus. As the mass of the nucleus is more and also the forces of attraction and repulsive force between the protons are high the nucleus is unstable and emits radiation during the decay which can be gamma decay, beta decay, or alpha decay depending on the particle emitted during the radioactivity.

Uranium Fission

This is a highly unstable and hence quickly radioactive element and therefore it is mostly used in the nuclear power plant to produce a huge amount of energy. As it is an unstable element in nature it is usually found in the form of the isotope in nature and rarely found in its pure form. The uranium atom decays to form a thorium isotope on radioactivity.

Atomic Explosion

The decaying of the nucleus gives out a huge amount of energy, and due to the uncontrolled fission of the nucleus, highly radioactive element like uranium and thorium are used to make an atomic explosion.

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Nuclear explosion developing mushroom cloud; Image Credit: Pixabay

This produces a huge disaster, polluting the air and spreading out to huge volumes. The high energies photon and electrons, and helium are migrating in the air increasing the aerosol content in the atmosphere causing oxygen deficiency and many breathing issues.


Desalination is a process of separation of salt and minerals from the seawater with the help of evaporation. Nuclear desalination is a technique used to achieve this process. The heat generated by the nuclear power plant is utilized for desalination.

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Evaporation of steam; Image Credit: Pixabay

The immense heat is supplied to the seawater. As the temperature of the water reaches its boiling point the water gets converted into the vapor state and gets evaporated and what is left behind is salt and minerals.

Cure Cancer

Nuclear medicines are used to help detect and cure different forms of cancers. A small quantity of the radioactive substance is injected into the body to locate the cancerous cells in the body testing each and every organ and tissue. Nuclear radiation helps to even take the picture of the affected area to get a clear idea of the tumors and infections caused.

Raman Effect

The Raman Effect is a change in the wavelength and energy of the incident light and the scattered light wave. When the electron is incident on the atom, the nuclei of the atom are deformed and the gamma ray is emitted from the nucleus in the inelastic collision. The deflected beam of light rays by the vibrating molecules is seen as a blue colored wave.


As nuclear fission can give out a huge amount of energy, the radioactive nuclei can be used as a fuel to provide heat energy. Hence, nuclear energy can be used in place of the other fuels used for various purposes.


The Sun is composed of hydrogen and helium element in dense. The hydrogen molecules fuss together to form the helium atom.

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Solar flare due to emission of radiation in a fusion; Image Credit: Pixabay

Fusion is a combination of two elements to form a single element. During the fusion, the amount of energy is released, thus increasing the temperature of the Sun.

Food Analysis

The nuclear energy is used to test the food if there are harmful contaminants present in the food. This is achieved by using a stable radioisotope. The ionizing radiation when passed on the food samples, it helps to defend against the harmful micro-organisms and prevents the illnesses caused by them.

Sterilize Agriculture Pest

Most of the yielding in the farms is spoiled by the bugs and insects giving a very less output after working so hard. Hence farmers use pesticides to avoid bugs harming their crops. The use of pesticides also shows an adverse impact on the quality of soil, thus yielding low crops in the subsequent year.

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Pesticides used in farming; Image Credit: Pixabay

The use of nuclear energy techniques helps to overcome this problem with no harmful side effects on the farm. This helps to prevent the bugs to reproduce by making the male bugs sterile thus reducing their number. Hence there is no requirement of using pesticides in the field to yield the crops.

Radiometric for Ascertaining the Age

It is a technique widely used by geologists to determine the age of the rock strata and the fossilized structure of the flora and fauna found trapped in the sedimentary rocks. This is done based on the half-life of the radioactive decaying element embedded in the structure and we can estimate the age of the rock or fossil, precipitation and weather condition in the past, etc.

Pollutant Detector

In a nuclear reactor plant, there is a tendency that the neutron may escape from the reactant and get leaked into the atmosphere polluting the air quality and spreading harmful radiation. To detect whether there is any leakage from the reactor coolants, a radioisotope badge is used which has a trace of a small amount of radioisotope.

If there is any leakage then there are possibilities that free moving neutron will strike the badge. This is checked and verified in case there was radioactivity seen by the isotope on the badge then there is a leakage of particles from the reactant. Hence, radioisotopes can help us to detect pollutants emitted into the air.

Cooling and Refrigeration

The heat generated due to the release of nuclear energy is subjected to cooling by using a large volume of water as a coolant. The heat energy thus converts the water into steam which turns the turbine. The kinetic energy of the turbine is then converted into electrical energy. This steam then evaporates further and cools down releasing the heat in the surrounding air and condensing back to the liquid state.

Cogeneration Application

Cogeneration means the utilization of heat to generate different forms of energy.

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Electricity from nuclear energy; Image Credit: Pixabay

The heat energy generated in the nuclear power plant is used for various purposes like coolant, electricity, desalination of water, refrigeration, running engines, and hydrogen production.

Tracer in a Criminal Investigation

Every object does emit the incident radiations and disintegrates at a certain rate. Hence the rate of disintegration helps to identify the object even if a small filament and a thin layer of the liquid are present. To identify traces of chemicals on the material radioisotopes are used. There are various methods to do forensic investigation based on radioactive decay.


It is a bifurcation of the single nuclei thus releasing a huge amount of energy, giving out photons and neutrons. This is caused due to the radioactive decay of the unstable atom. Every substance is made up of atoms and they show disintegration at a certain rate.


Fusion is when the two nuclei fuse to form a single nucleus of greater atomic mass. In a process, the extra energy is released after the bombardment of the two nuclei by releasing an electron, proton, or neutron.


In a spaceship, the radioisotope is used to provide heat energy and supply power to the spacecraft during the exploration.

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Corridor of a spaceship; Image Credit: Pixabay

The application of nuclear power is used to produce electricity in the spaceship. A small amount of radioactive elements is used to generate heat and electricity.

Hydrogen Fuel

Hydrogen fuel is the most efficient and environmentally friendly and can produce an enormous amount of energy compared to the rest of the fuels.

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Hydrogen Fuel to ignite a rocket; Image Credit: Pixabay

Thus the use of hydrogen fuel can save enough resources and energy reducing the generation of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Depending upon the type of the element used in the reactors, the hydrogen can be produced using different technologies like electrolysis, thermochemical cycle, steam electrolysis, etc.

Phosphorus – 32

It is an isotope of phosphorus used to determine the DNA sequences and identify the presence of drugs or particles in genes. This is especially used to detect the tumors as the cancer cells tend to accumulate more amount of phosphate than usual unaffected cells.


All the organic matter are made up of carbon hence this technique is widely used by archaeologists and geologist to determine the age of the ancient rocks and monuments, the rocks strata, and the age of trees and fossils.

Study of Photosynthesis

The process of photosynthesis in plants is studied based on the amount of carbon dioxide utilized by the plant to produce its food and how much oxygen is released into the atmosphere. This helped to boost the productivity of the agriculture line.


The radioisotope is used in the insecticides to get rid of the insects on the farm that spoils the crop yields and products.

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Insecticide; Image Credit: Pixabay

The radiation emitted by the radioisotopes defends the insects and prevents the crops from being damaged. Hence, radioisotopes are used as insecticides.

Iodine – 131

If there is a deficiency of iodine, then the abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland is seen causing goiter. The isotope of iodine, Iodine-131 is used to trace the activity of the thyroid gland.

Measure the Thickness of Metal and Plastic Sheets

The emission of electrons in the nuclear reaction can be used to measure the thickness of the metal and plastic sheet. This technique is called the beta scattering technique. The beta decay of the radioactive disintegration releases the electron. These electrons are transmitted and scattered back. The angle of incidence of the electron and angle of scattering determines the thickness of the sheet.

Gamma Radiography

This technique is used to identify if there is a crack, cleavage, or fracture in the parts of the machine tools. The isotopes of iridium Ir-192 are used in the inspect the mechanical parts.

Technetium – 99

This is an isotope used in scanning devices while taking images of the internal organ of the human body. It is short lived isomers.

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Scanning for cancerous cells; Image Credit: Pixabay

Salt Baths

This is another technique used to locate the cracks and cleavages in the metals. If there is no penetration of the radioactive salt through the metal then this indicates that there is no cleavage or fracture in the body of the metal.

Frequently Asked Questions

How nuclear energy helps to detect the smoke?

The radioisotope Am-241 is used to detect the smoke in the air.

It emits the alpha radiation that ionizes the air molecules between the capacitor plates in the chamber. In presence of smoke, the mobility of the ions gets clogged thus reducing the conductivity of the charged ion, and the current drops indicating the smoke.

What is the drawback of nuclear energy in the medical field?

Nuclear techniques are used to detect and cure various health issues.

Nuclear technology is risky and might cause several other impacts on health like cancer, skin problems, breathlessness, nausea, etc.

What is the impact of nuclear energy on the environment?

There is a major risk of air pollution due to nuclear activities.

If the radioactive particle escapes in the air, it is very harmful and causes various ailments, increasing the aerosol particles in the air, chances of mutation, and polluting the air.

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