How Nuclear Works: Uranium element is used. Nucleus is shattered, which releases neutrons, these neutron collide with another nucleus and shatters it, and this chain reaction continues. The chain reaction heats uranium to be high temperatures, which then heats the water surrounding it, the water goes into a loop which creates steam, the steam heats the turbine, and the turbine turns the generator. Nuclear energy is different than other energy because it is more dense (more energy per weight). Coal has density of 25, natural gas is 55, hydrogen is 120, uranium is 80,000,000. Nuclear energy is the only non-carbon energy that can replace fossil fuels' current scale.
Nuclear Risks: One risk is nuclear waste. Nuclear waste is created when nuclear fuel cannot power a reactor, but still has energy, radioactivity, and heat. Nuclear waste in the U.S. is stored in pools for several years and then stored for decades at reactor sites in dry casks. Nuclear waste in France is recycled, they reuse parts and reactors, and they store the rest of the nuclear waste for use later. Nuclear waste in the future is planned to be used for small module reactors, which will get its energy from nuclear waste (makes electricity while reducing waste) or breed reactors, which would burn the fuel completely, allowing zero waste. Another risk is proliferation, in which nuclear waste or byproducts can create bombs. Proliferation can be reduced through diplomacy and safer technology. Lastly, there is the risk of a nuclear energy facility accident. The facilities are made of concrete and steel, and if they overheat can harm life around it. There are new methods to make nuclear energy facilities safer though, so overheating cannot occur. These are thorium and fusion, but they are still decades away from being possible.
Nuclear Energy: Nuclear is responsible for 20% of U.S's energy and 80% of France's energy. Nuclear energy creates no emissions. It is also cheap because it is a powerful source of energy. When nuclear reactors can no longer be used, it still contains energy, heat, and radioactivity. The challenges of nuclear energy is how to store waste, the possibility of nuclear bombs, and nuclear accidents. Nuclear is still safer than other energy sources (coal, oil, etc). The biggest struggles are cost as the plants are very expensive because it needs to hold great amounts of energy and opposition as many are afraid and against nuclear energy.