FAQ

What are the applications of nuclear technologies?

Answer

Applications of nuclear energy are two folds: those coming from nuclear power and those using radioactivity, isotopes and various nuclear phenomena. Nuclear power is used for electricity production, district heating, desalination and in the future for hydrogen production. The Space industry also uses it. Radioactivity and development of nuclear techniques lead to a large number of other applications. Radioactivity  and development of nuclear techniques lead to a large number of other applications.

Background

Applications of nuclear energy are two folds:  those coming from nuclear power and those using radioactivity, isotopes and various nuclear phenomena.
Nuclear energy through heat production currently provides 16% of the world’s electricity. Nuclear power will be essential to meeting the challenge of our world’s critically rising demand for clean energy. Many other applications of nuclear power are used for district heating, water desalination, management of water resources and in the future for hydrogen production. Hydrogen from nuclear and renewable sources may replace fossil fuels where its unique chemical characteristics give it adequate capabilities. Nuclear power is also used in the space industry since many years, like for satellites change of orbits. There is also an application envisaged in Russia of a nuclear reactor on a barge being able to be transported in far away regions in need for electricity.
 
Radioactivity  and development of nuclear techniques lead to a large number of other applications:
-       Health and medicine: genomic research, medical imaging and functional exploration, radiotherapy, targeted
        irradiation, sterilization of surgical tools, parasitic illnesses.
-       Agriculture and food: development of plant species, irrigation water management, food conservation through
        irradiation, pest and mould control.
-       Industrial applications: polymerisation, welding inspections, various precise measurings, fire detection, industrial
        imaging, use in oil industry exploration, new materials development (Silicon Carbide Fiber)…
-       Naval propulsion: submarines, aircraft carriers and also civil applications for nuclear propelled cargo ships and
        nuclear ice- breakers.
-       Space applications by using sources or very small reactors to supply electricity needs or heat or propulsion in
        space.
-       Many other applications such as C14 dating, restoration of mummies…
 
Reference: IAEA booklets, book “Understanding the future nuclear power, Bertrand Barré- Pierre René Bauquis”
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