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Free 5-day trial What can the sun do that we can't? Are radioactive isotopes helpful in the medical field?The answers to these questions can be found in this lesson on the applications of nuclear chemistry.The type of nuclear power that is most common on Earth is nuclear fission.Nuclear fission occurs when a heavier atom splits into smaller pieces.The sun is essentially a fusion reactor creating energy by fusing hydrogen atoms together to form helium, and the sun is our primary source of energy.We use the sun's energy for solar power, photosynthesis, and even in the fossil fuels we burn.Because mass and energy are tied together, when mass is lost, energy is lost, or emitted.In a fusion reaction, massive amounts of energy are emitted.
This releases a lot of energy because the original atom was so unstable.
These are called radioactive tracers, and they act like little atom labels or flags.
If they are being traced in locations where they shouldn't be, a more accurate diagnosis can be made.
Currently, there is no feasible way to harness this energy from fusion and use it to power our infrastructure, but several years down the road, it is possible that it could supply us with the energy we need.
In a way, we are able to use some of the energy from fusion reactions.
Radioactive isotopes are used to determine the age of old artifacts, diagnose disease, and treat certain types of medical conditions.