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GCSE Physics notes: Nuclear energy stores

TYPES OF ENERGY STORE - examples explained

(f) Nuclear energy stores

Doc Brown's GCSE 9-1 Physics Revision Notes

Suitable for GCSE/IGCSE Physics/Science courses or their equivalent

This page will help you answer questions such as ...

 What is nuclear energy?

What is a nuclear energy store?

 Give an example of a nuclear energy store

 



Nuclear energy and nuclear energy stores

  • This is energy associated with the structure of atomic nuclei.

    • Einstein's famous equation relates energy to mass: E = mc2.

    • When nuclear changes happen there are changes in the mass of the products and tiny amounts of mass are converted into energy - heat or electromagnetic radiation..

    • Any mass loss (m), however small, releases huge amounts of energy (E) as the nuclear energy store decreases.

  • Nuclear energy released when the nucleus of an atom undergoes a nuclear reaction e.g.

    • Alpha, beta and gamma radioactive decay radiations release energy - but not in a form useful in power generation.

    • Nuclear fission reactions when larger atoms like uranium are split by neutrons to form smaller atoms - this process is used in nuclear power stations.

      • (c) doc b a nuclear fission reaction involving a uranium atom

    • Nuclear fusion is when smaller atoms come together to form a larger atom, but this also releases huge amounts of nuclear energy e.g. hydrogen ==> helium in a star like our Sun.

      • (c) doc b a nuclear fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium atoms.

  • All these processes release huge amounts of nuclear energy and the energy from fission can be harnessed to power steam turbine generators to drive generators producing electricity.

  • It is hoped one day that nuclear fusion will provide the energy, but not practical at the moment!


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Energy resources, and transfers, work done and electrical power supply revision notes index

Types of energy & stores - examples compared/explained, calculations of mechanical work done and power

Chemical  * Elastic potential energy  * Electrical & electrostatic Gravitational potential energy

Kinetic energy store  *  Nuclear energy store  *  Thermal energy stores  * Light energy  * Sound energy

Conservation of energy, energy transfers-conversions, efficiency - calculations and Sankey diagrams

Energy resources: uses, general survey & trends, comparing renewables, non-renewables, generating electricity

Renewable energy (1) Wind power and solar power, advantages and disadvantages gcse physics revision notes

Renewable energy (2) Hydroelectric power and geothermal power, advantages and disadvantages gcse physics

Renewable energy (3) Wave power and tidal barrage power, advantages and disadvantages gcse physics

See also Renewable energy - biofuels & alternative fuels, hydrogen, biogas, biodiesel

Greenhouse effect, global warming, climate change, carbon footprint from fossil fuel burning gcse physics

The Usefulness of Electricity gcse physics electricity revision notes

and The 'National Grid' power supply, mention of small scale supplies, transformers gcse physics notes


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