A prime example of man-made nuclear energy is the generation of electricity. A prime example of natural nuclear energy is the nuclear reactions the sun produces to create heat and light. Nuclear energy involves a process called “fusion.”
Fusion involves the collision of atomic nuclei, an event that creates a tremendous amount of heat. In generating electricity, for instance, the heat created by fusion warms water to the boiling point, which releases steam. This steam powers turbines that create electricity.
In the core of the sun, the heat and pressure are extreme enough to create the fusion needed to unleash its natural nuclear energy. Less than 8 percent of the energy needs in the United States are met via nuclear energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Petroleum, natural gas and coal are the primary energy resources in the United States and many other countries around the globe.