What it is

The atom is the matter unit and for a long time it was considered indivisible (from the greek ατομος, atomos, which can not be divided). Actually, it includes a nucleus (containing protons and neutrons) surrounded by a cloud of electrons distributed over layers corresponding to the different energy levels and from which they can migrate or into which they can crowd causing chemical reactions and the creation of chemical compounds (or substances or products). Each time the atom nuclei undergo a transformation and join to create a larger nucleus (fusion) or split into two or more smaller nuclei (fission) energy is produced.
The use of nuclear energy as an energy source is widely debated, especially with reference to the risk of uncontrollable accidents. Nuclear energy can be produced by means of both the nuclear fission (progressive splitting of the nuclei of heavy radioactive elements) and fusion (joining the nuclei of light elements). Of the two reactions, fission is the only one viable for human beings, but it does not exclude the possibility of accidents and the production of radioactive waste.
As regards to fusion, it is still impossible. No device has yet been created to contain and maintain hydrogen “confined” for a sufficient time at a very high temperature allowing the aggregation of nuclei.

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From the Multimedia section

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    Electricity from fission

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    Enrico Fermi

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    Inventor of X-rays

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    Nuclear reactor

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    Uranium

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    energy

    Uranium bar

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  • energy

    Nuclear reactors under construction

    Look

    energy

    World uranium mining production by countries in 2016

    Look
  • energy

    Nuclear planned reactors

    Look

    energy

    Electricity from fission

    Look
  • energy

    Enrico Fermi

    Look

    energy

    Inventor of X-rays

    Look
  • energy

    Nuclear reactors under construction

    Look
  • energy

    World uranium mining production by countries in 2016

    Look
  • energy

    Nuclear planned reactors

    Look

Facts

  • ITER fusion reactor

    The reactor that will be able to produce electronuclear energy without risk of explosion or radioactive waste...

    Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...

    Electricity and electrons

    In all electric plants, excluding photovoltaic solar plants, mechanic energy is transformed into electric energy through the same basic procedure...

  • Peat and peat-bogs

    The age of coal starts towards the mid 1600s, stimulated by the need for finding an alternative energy source to…

    Geographical distribution of energy

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need. Unfortunately we cannot exploit all this…

    Orimulsion

    In order to improve supply security, and therefore the diversification of sources to produce electric energy...

  • Cracking operations

    At the end of the fractional distillation, long hydrocarbon molecules can be transformed into lighter molecules by means of more…

    A hydrogen house

    In Settimo, a municipality close to Turin, the first Unité d’Abitation has been created...

    Hydrogen from biomass

    Hydrogen is an energy carrier that allows to generate energy in an environmentally sustainable way...

  • 16 May 2011

    ITER fusion reactor

    The reactor that will be able to produce electronuclear energy without risk of explosion or radioactive waste...

    2 March 2011

    Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...

  • Electricity and electrons

    In all electric plants, excluding photovoltaic solar plants, mechanic energy is transformed into electric energy through the same basic procedure...

    Peat and peat-bogs

    The age of coal starts towards the mid 1600s, stimulated by the need for finding an alternative energy source to…

  • Geographical distribution of energy

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need. Unfortunately we cannot exploit all this…

    Orimulsion

    In order to improve supply security, and therefore the diversification of sources to produce electric energy...

  • 16 May 2011

    ITER fusion reactor

    The reactor that will be able to produce electronuclear energy without risk of explosion or radioactive waste...

  • 2 March 2011

    Where does energy come from?

    Every day the Earth receives enough solar energy to satisfy the global energy need...

  • Electricity and electrons

    In all electric plants, excluding photovoltaic solar plants, mechanic energy is transformed into electric energy through the same basic procedure...