Nuclear energy is the energy in the core of an atom. Atoms are tiny particles that make up every object in the universe. There is enormous energy in the bond that hold atoms together. Nuclear energy can be used to makes electricity. But first the energy must be released. It can be released from atoms in two ways, Nuclear Fusion and Nuclear Fission. In Nuclear Fusion, energy is released when atoms are combined or fused together to form a larger atom. This is how the sun produces energy.
What is Nuclear Fusion?
Nuclear fusion is a reaction through which two or more light nuclei collide into each other to form a heavier nucleus. This reaction takes place with elements which have a low atomic number, such as Hydrogen. It is the opposite of fission reaction in which heavy elements diffuse and form lighter elements. Both nuclear fusion and fission produce a massive amount of energy.
In nuclear fusion, two or more small nuclei combine to form a single, larger nucleus. You can see an example in the Figure above. In this example, nuclei of two hydrogen isotopes (tritium and deuterium) fuse to form a helium nucleus. A neutron and a tremendous amount of energy are also released.
Examples of Fusion: Fusion reactions of light elements power the stars and produce virtually all elements in a process called nucleosynthesis. The fusion of lighter elements in stars releases energy, as well as the mass that always accompanies it. For example, in the fusion of two hydrogen nuclei to form helium, seven-tenths of one percent of the mass is carried away from the system in the form of kinetic energy or other forms of energy, like electromagnetic radiation.