The energy that is released through a nuclear reaction or radioactive decay process. Of particular interest is the process known as fission, which occurs in a nuclear reactor and produces energy usually in the form of heat. In a nuclear power plant, this heat is used to boil water in order to produce steam that can be used to drive large turbines. This, in turn, activates generators to produce electrical power. Atomic energy is more correctly called nuclear energy.
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, August 25, 2020