Atomic energy refers to the energy consumed or produced in modifying the composition of the atomic nucleus. Many see atomic energy as the source of inexpensive, clean power. Because of the hazardous radiation emitted in producing that power and the radioactivity of the materials used, others believe that it may not be a viable energy alternative to the use of fossil fuels or solar energy. Nuclear power plants harness the energy releases from nuclear reactions for large-scale energy production. In a modern coal plant, the combustion of one pound of coal produces about one kilowatt hour of electric energy. The fissioning of one pound of uranium in a modern nuclear power plant produces about three million kilowatt hours of electric energy.