Nuclear fission reaction

The Science Behind Nuclear Fission: Simple Explanation

According to a 2021 survey by Our World in Data, nuclear power plants generate around 10% of the world’s electricity. The US is the top Nuclear power-producing country, having 93 active reactors in 54 power plants. These power plants produce nearly 20% of the country’s annual electricity generation.

Among the Nuclear power countries, France produces almost 70% of its electricity from nuclear reactors. All around the world, there are about 440 active reactors. Nuclear is the second largest low-carbon power.

Read more from our curated list: What is electricity?

How do Nuclear Power Plants Generates Electricity?

The core concept of producing electricity always starts from the turbine. A sophisticated example of a turbine is a bicycle dynamo or cycling torche. While pedaling the crank, it rotates the head portion of our tiny turbine.

credit: Lights out

 This head portion is an extended part of the mini rod covered with copper windings. The turbine’s inner walls have static magnets faced on opposite poles, and there’s enough room for the mini rod to rotate without any hindrances.

Because of our pedaling power, the rod rotates and constantly disturbs the magnetic field between the magnets. Continued turmoil in the magnetic field creates electricity that passes along the rod. Which further transferred to light the bulb.

So, our physical energy is enough to light up the bulb via this dynamo. Imagine this same concept in a large picture. These turbines can produce thousands of watts that even light up whole villages.  

This turbine technology is the base for electricity production, including windmills, water power plants, thermal power plants, etc.

Nuclear Fission Is Not A Joke:

As of the above section, we know that some external forces are required to rotate the turbine rods. Aerodynamical blades in Windmills use the wind flow to kickstart the turbine rod. Watermills have unique wheels that generate electricity by stream of water.

Similarly, a nuclear power plant requires external force, right? Nuclear fission comes into action to solve this issue. Be ready to learn about nuclear fission.

credit: pexels

Imagine a hotel in a metro city. That has a clean and empty 10-square-foot room with two persons. Here, we can relate the room as the nucleus and the members in there as nucleons(protons and neutrons). So, this room is equivalent to the Helium nucleus.

Now, a cruel hotel manager sent 239 members into the same room. Think about the mindset of the people inside this small room. They are sandwiched inside the room and ready to burst out. Without a delay, he asks these frustrated people to allow one more person. That’s it! They are going to tear that room into pieces, even that hotel.

Nuclear fission

 Atoms like Uranium and plutonium are in the same situation. They are very unstable. When a free neutron hits this nucleus, it can’t accommodate this new one, So it splits into multiple smaller atoms and leaves some additional free neutrons. These remaining neutrons further hit other unstable Uranium atoms, and this goes on.

Apart from the free neutrons, this splitting of large amounts of unstable atoms produces tremendous heat that helps to convert the water into steam. This water steam helps to rotate the turbine and produces electricity.


Thermal power plants follow the same methodology. But they replaced the nuclear source with coal. Unlike nuclear power plants, these coals produce a large amount of carbon. That will cause tremendous trouble in the environment.

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