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Nuclear Energy Basics

What is a Nuclear Microreactor?
Microreactors are not defined by their fuel form or coolant. Instead, they have three main features.
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What is a Radioisotope Power System?
Nuclear has powered space exploration for decades. Learn radioisotope power systems' role in the most successful space missions in U.S. history.
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Advantages and Challenges of Nuclear Energy
An overview of the main advantages of nuclear energy and the challenges currently facing the industry today.
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NUCLEAR 101: How Does a Nuclear Reactor Work?
Learn how boiling and pressurized light-water reactors work.
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INFOGRAPHIC: How Many Holiday Lights Can a Nuclear Reactor Power?
One nuclear reactor can power enough holiday lights that could wrap around the earth more than 27 times.
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Infographic: How Many Turkeys Can a Reactor Cook on Thanksgiving Day?
A typical nuclear reactor can provide enough power to cook around 2.5 million turkeys on Thanksgiving Day.
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3 Ways Nuclear is More Flexible Than You Might Think
Nuclear is evolving into a more flexible energy source that can operate alongside renewable generators to create new hybrid energy systems.
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4 Key Benefits of Advanced Small Modular Reactors
Advanced small modular reactors could change the way we think about nuclear power. Here are 4 key benefits you need to know about them.
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What is Generation Capacity?
Capacity is the amount of electricity a generator can produce when it's running at full blast. Learn more about this confusing energy term.
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5 Fast Facts About Nuclear Energy
Get up to speed on nuclear energy with these 5 fast facts.
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Navigating Nuclear

Navigating Nuclear Energizing our World
American Nuclear Society | Discovery Education

The Office of Nuclear Energy is supporting a collaboration between the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and Discovery Education to develop a nuclear science curriculum for high school students. ANS will work with Discovery Education to provide new lesson plans, career profiles, and a virtual field trip for students in grades 9-12. Curriculum will be developed for elementary schools in 2020-21 to complete the K-12 initiative.

In 2018, Navigating Nuclear made nuclear science curriculum content available nationwide to an estimated 442,000 students in grades 6-8.

Learn more about the program

Engage in STEM

Video: New Year, New Nuclear Energy STEM Activities
Free, online, and standards-based nuclear energy curriculum info that can be used with their students' in-person or through virtual distance learning.
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This Smartphone Microscope is Changing the Way U.S. Tribal Students View Nuclear Energy
STEM activity engages students in U.S. Tribes through a smartphone microscope.
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The Harnessed Atom

The Harnessed Atom is a middle school science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum extension that focuses on nuclear science and energy. The curriculum includes essential principles and fundamental concepts of energy science.

In The Harnessed Atom kit, you will find a student edition, a teacher’s guide with lesson plans, standards, instructor notes, interactive games, classroom activities, laboratory experiments, and outside resource suggestions. Teachers, scientists, and experts at universities, professional societies, and national laboratories reviewed and tested the kit as it was developed. 

The U.S. Department of Energy is responsible to keep the public informed about our nation’s energy sources, research, policies, and options. The Harnessed Atom helps meet this goal by providing students with factual information about our nation’s energy options and future.

Curriculum documents/activities are available at the links provided below.

Note: PDF files are accessible using Mac, Windows, Android, and most other operating systems. Interactive games and videos that accompany the teacher’s kit may have separate system requirements.