Another type of change occurs in nuclear reactions. Nuclear energy is the energy stored in the nucleus of an atom. This energy can be released by joining nuclei together (fusion) or by splitting nuclei (fission), resulting in the conversion of minute amounts of matter into energy. In nuclear reactions, a small amount of matter produces a large amount of energy. However, there are potential negative effects of using nuclear energy, including radioactive nuclear waste storage and disposal.
The student will investigate and understand changes in matter and the relationship of these changes to the Law of Conservation of Matter and Energy. Key concepts include a) physical changes; b) chemical changes; and c) nuclear reactions.