Reinforced stainless-steel containers of radioactive cesium-137 sit in a 4-meter (13-foot) deep pool at the Hanford Site, a nuclear facility in Richland, Washington. This is one of the final steps in the process of generating nuclear energy. Cesium must sit underwater for ten years until it is cool enough to be removed to a nuclear-waste storage site.

Photograph by Emory Kristof

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Nuclear energy is the energy in the nucleus, or core, of an atom. Nuclear energy can be used to create electricity, but it must first be released from the atom.