Nuclear fission is the splitting apart of the nucleus of an atom. By carefully controlling this process at an industrial scale, we can harness large quantities of energy released to generate electricity for the benefit of society as a whole.
Nuclear science and technology has also other applications. For example, radiation is used extensively in medical diagnostic and therapeutic practices, such as imaging (e.g. X-rays), cancer radiotherapy or radioactive tracers.
Most radioisotopes and radio-pharmaceuticals are produced in nuclear reactors, which may also serve as research facilities.
What research is needed?
The use of nuclear technology in the EU has an outstanding nuclear safety record but research is still needed to:
- maintain a high level of safety in operating nuclear facilities, including the treatment and long-term management of associated radioactive waste
- better understand the risks and hazards associated with the use of radiation in medicine and industry
Nuclear research in the EU
Research at European level is funded through Euratom Research and Training Programmes.
Fission research actions cover:
- safety of nuclear systems
- safe long-term management of radioactive waste
- development and sustainability of nuclear expertise and excellence in the EU
- risks of low and protracted exposure to ionising radiation, including in medical applications
- research infrastructures and education and training
Today, research continues under the current Euratom research and training programme.
An EU-funded project has empowered local communities and stakeholders in radioactive waste disposal decision-making.Read more
Collaborative platforms and associations
These associations bring together industry, academia and national research and safety organisations to plan and carry out research more strategically.
- Nuclear Fission related publications at the EU Bookshop