Emphasising the nuclear
Teaching Guidance for 14-16
Why are they called nuclear power stations?
The phenomenon of radioactivity is due to changes in the nucleus of each atom of a radioactive material. It is for this reason that we refer to:
- Nuclear weapons
- Nuclear power stations
- Nuclear reactions
- Nuclear energy
For some students this point may not be obvious:
Karl: Why are they called nuclear power stations? I thought it was to do with radioactivity!
Teacher: Nearly right! It is to do with radioactivity. Radiation is emitted from the nucleus of the atoms in fuels for these power stations and enables more nuclear emissions. That's why we call them nuclear reactors or nuclear power stations.
From time to time it is a good idea to refer to nuclear alpha/beta/gamma radiation or nuclear ionising radiation just to remind students of their origin.