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why is there more energy in nuclear fuel than fossil fuel?

Many thousands of times more energy is released from 1g of nuclear fuel than from burning 1g of fossil fuel. Why?

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4 Responses to “why is there more energy in nuclear fuel than fossil fuel?”

  1. gavhouse_09 said :

    I think because nuclear is a reaction so it reacts with other elements to create more energy rather than just burning to release energy. i think thats right not sure

  2. Craig said :

    Because the fission reaction actually converts some matter into energy. Burning just releases some energy from chemical bonds. Einstein’s E=mc² where m = mass of matter, c = speed of light, and E = energy released.

  3. Jeroonk said :

    The difference is the size at which the reactions happen, and the amount of energy released.

    Fossil fuel gets its energy form chemical reactions. For that to happen, you need multiple atoms which form molecules, reacting with each other. The small changes in the magnetic and molecular force configuration, causes a small bit of energy to be released.

    Nuclear energy is subatomic, the core (nucleus) of an atom itself will split or melt together. Thus, producing more energy per unit of mass as the scale of this reaction is many times smaller then chemical reactions. This change in configuration when splitting or melting causes a loss of mass, and the energy produced (e=mc^2) is enormous proportional to that loss.

  4. daniel_walker_27 said :

    When burning fossil fuels, you’re simply making use of the energy released through chemical reactions. This energy is enough for us, but it’s not all that efficient!

    Nuclear fuels, however, utilise the process of nuclear fission, which is not a chemical reaction (as chemical reactions involve electrons, not nuclei).
    Albert Einstein showed how an enormous amount of energy can be released from a tiny mass, through the equation – E = mc²

    When a nucleus is split (nuclear fission), the masses of the two new nuclei don’t add up to the mass of the original nucleus. This means that there is a mass deficit an so defies the law of conservation of mass. However, since Einstein showed that energy and mass are equivalent at the sub-atomic level, we now know that this missing mass is actually converted into alot of energy!

    Since c² (speed of light squared) is such a huge number, a miniscule mass produces a huge amount of energy. To put it into perspective, a small amount of Hydrogen (enough to fill maybe a small balloon) creates the energy produced by an atomic bomb! (H-bomb)

    As you can see, this is much more efficient than chemical reactions.
    The only problem with nuclear power plants is the inital start-up and running costs. It takes a while for the costs to balance out, because nuclear reactions are so dangerous and leave harmful by-products, so it’s expensive. In the long-run though, it is much more efficient and produces no ‘greenhouse gases’.


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