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Nuclear Energy. Integrated Science Mrs. Brostrom. Nuclear radiation is high energy particles and rays that are emitted by the nuclei of some atoms. This radiation can be harnessed for energy. Radioactivity can also be called radioactive decay .

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Nuclear energy
Nuclear Energy

Integrated Science

Mrs. Brostrom


  • Nuclear radiation is high energy particles and rays that are emitted by the nuclei of some atoms.

  • This radiation can be harnessed for energy.

  • Radioactivity can also be called radioactive decay.

  • Caused by the atom having too many or too few neutrons.

  • Radioactive elements (38):

  • Uranium

  • Radon

  • Radium

  • Francium

  • Plutonium


Radioactive decay
Radioactive Decay

  • Alpha decay is the release of an alpha particle from the nucleus.

  • An alpha particle is made up of 2 protons and 2 neutrons.

  • 2. Beta decay is the release of a beta particle form the nucleus.

  • A beta particle can be an electron or a positron (charge of +1, with a mass of almost zero).

  • The neutron breaks down into a proton and an electron.

  • 3. Gamma Decay is the release of gamma rays from the nucleus

  • Have no mass and no charge


Effects of radiation on matter
Effects of Radiation on Matter

  • When organisms absorb radiation it cells can be damaged.

  • Causes burns

  • Radiation sickness

  • Increase the risk of cancer

  • Radiation can also damage nonliving matter.

  • Metal can be weakened


Finding a date by decay
Finding a Date by Decay

  • Carbon atoms are found in all living things.

  • A small percentage of these atoms are carbon 14.

  • Every 5,730 years half of the carbon 14 in a sample decays

  • A half life is the amount of time it takes one-half of the nuclei of a radioactive isotope to decay.

  • Can be used to determine the age of objects up to 50,000 years old.


Nuclear fission
Nuclear Fission

  • Nuclear fission is the process by which a large nuclei splits into two small nuclei and release energy.

  • Can occur naturally

  • Can be forced by hitting atoms with neutrons

  • Advantages and disadvantages of fission:

  • Emits no air pollution

  • Nuclear power plants cost less to run than fossil fuel plants

  • Risk of accidents (Chernobyl, Ukraine & Fukushima, Japan)

  • Disposal of nuclear waste (radiation lasts thousands of years)

  • Nuclear power plants cost more to build than fossil fuel plants

  • Supply of uranium is limited


Nuclear fusion
Nuclear Fusion

  • In nuclear fusion, two or more nuclei that have small masses combine to form a larger nucleus.

  • Very high temperature are needed- 100,000,000oC

  • Matter is plasma (state of matter where electrons have been removed from the atoms)

  • Advantages and disadvantages of nuclear fusion:

  • Less accident prone- very little radioactive material released

  • Fusion products are not radioactive

  • There is enough water on Earth to provide fuel for millions of years

  • Does not produce radioactive waste like fission does

  • More money is needed to research fusion


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