Washington Post

Nuclear power: Could it be a clean energy solution?

Most kids probably know what a nuclear power plant looks like because of the video game Fortnite or the television show "The Simpsons." But how many know what goes on inside those facilities, or how it translates into the electricity that runs our homes?

The Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Lusby, Md., is one of the plants that produce about 20% of the energy used in the United States. That process does not emit greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change. But the plants are expensive to build, and there are concerns about the plants' safety. Foto: Washington Post photo by Jonathan Newton

At the heart of any nuclear power plant, there are tiny pieces of uranium called atoms. Carefully, and under control, technicians break apart these atoms using a reaction called nuclear fission (rhymes with vision). When that happens, tons of energy is released in the form of heat, which boils water and creates steam. This causes another device, known as a turbine, to spin very quickly.

"The turbine is coupled to an electric generator, causing it to also spin," said William C. Evans, a retired nuclear scientist. "When the generator spins, electrical energy is produced, and is then sent to us to use, through long wires."..

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