nuclear power

Atoms are tiny building blocks that make up all matter in the Universe. Atoms may be tiny, but they hold an extraordinary amount of energy in their core, or nucleus. This energy can be released when atoms are split apart, producing nuclear power. Nuclear power plants split atoms of a certain kind of uranium to release huge amounts of heat. In turn, this heat drives a generator that produces electricity.

Definition: the energy released by splitting apart an atom
Carbon Dioxide Emissions: none (except during uranium mining and processing)
Cost: expensive (vs. other energy sources)
Location: only in a few countries (including the U.S.), as permitted by international agreements
Current Use: almost 15% of the world's energy
Cool Fact: A single pellet of uranium can generate as much electricity as 150 gallons of oil!

Image credits: main image, courtesy of Stefan Kühn.