Skip to content
Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

The science of nuclear energy
The science of nuclear energy

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.


This free course was written by Sam Smidt and Gemma Warriner.

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence.

The material acknowledged below is Proprietary and used under licence (not subject to Creative Commons Licence). Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this free course:


Figure 1 © The Open University

Figure 2 © joelsp, in

Figure 3 © Dmitry Birin/

Figure 4 © Google Maps

Figure 5 © The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images

Figure 6 © Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Figure 7 © courtesy of the website of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (

Figure 8 © Silver Spoon, via Wikimedia (, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Licence (

Figure 9 © wellphoto/

Figure 10 © Eric Parker, in Flickr

Figure 11 © Dmitry Birin/

Figure 12 © Oxlock/

Figure 13 © Bloomberg/Getty Images


3.1 Atomic Men various clips Windscale: Britain's Biggest Nuclear Disaster 08 October 2007 © BBC

3.1.2 Accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl © The Open University and its licensors

3.2.2 Hydrogen explosions demonstrations various clips © BBC

3.2.3 Inside the Daiichi power plant video Horizon: Is Nuclear Power Safe, 14 September 2011 © BBC

3.2.5 Clean-up if Iitae video Horizon: Fukushima Is Nuclear Power Safe 2011 © BBC

3.3 Fukushima - water issues audio BBC Radio 4 news, 5 September 2013 © BBC

3.3.2 Fukashima - health effects three years later video Horizon: Fucuskina Is Nuclear Power Safe, episode 6, 2011 © BBC

3.3.4 Chernobyl today: exclusion zone © The Open University

3.3.5 Chernobyl today - health effects video Horizon: Fukushima Is Nuclear Power Safe, episode 6, 2011 © BBC

Every effort has been made to contact copyright owners. If any have been inadvertently overlooked, the publishers will be pleased to make the necessary arrangements at the first opportunity.

Don’t miss out

If reading this text has inspired you to learn more, you may be interested in joining the millions of people who discover our free learning resources and qualifications by visiting The Open University – openlearn/ free-courses.