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Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Chemistry, Physics, History, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 4 minutes, 43 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

Nuclear Energy Explained: How Does It Work?

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  • This video traces the history of nuclear energy and the eventual rise in popularity of light water reactors. 
  • A brief and simple explanation of nuclear fission shows how the process is used to heat water and drive turbines in light water reactors. 
  • Students will be introduced to the risks and benefits of nuclear energy. 
Teaching Tips


  • The historical background presented in the video will help students understand how and why nuclear energy rose in popularity in the 1970s and 1980s and why it is less popular today. 
  • The video description offers links to additional videos on the pros and cons of nuclear energy. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • There is an advertisement at the beginning of the video. 
  • At 2:17 a cartoon bird offers more information if you click on it, but the link does not work. 


Scientist Notes
This video presents a simplified version of how nuclear energy produces electricity without going into details regarding the pros or cons. Though this video is 6 years old, the figures presented are still correct, with only 4 new nuclear energy plants having come online since the release of the video. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: History
      • D2.His.1.6-8 Analyze connections among events and developments in broader historical contexts.
      • D2.His.5.6-8 Explain how and why perspectives of people have changed over time.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ETS1: Engineering Design
      • HS-ETS1-1 Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
    • PS1: Matter and its Interactions
      • HS-PS1-5 Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.
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