Coal has been in use for a long time, it is also a relatively inexpensive form of energy and there are lots of coal. The big problem is the disposal of hazardous waste. Coal requires ton of fuel to run and produce ton of waste. Most of that waste goes up the smoke stacks or dumped back into the environment and lead to acid rain or smog. The impact on the environment is significant and burning coal is one of the contributor of global warming.
Coal contains small quantity of uranium, and other decay products such as radon but the volume coal can produce large amount of energy. For every kilowatt of an hour energy produced, coal burning station release more radioactive materials into the environment than any nuclear reactor.
Coal advantages and disadvantages
Here are coal pros and cons for using coal for electricity
- Pros: High quantity available to use as a fuel for combustion for locomotion and generating electricity. Coal is one of the most plentiful resource in the world.
- Pros: Relatively cheap due to the large amount of coal available and coal are easy to access.
- Pros: Large amount of electricity can be produce using coal at low price.
- Pros: Coal power plants can be built anywhere in the world.
- Pros: Coal is also very versatile, it can be burn and it can be transformed into liquid or gas.
- Cons: Produce large amount of pollution, the dirtiest source of electricity comes from coal according to the Environmental Defense Fund.
- Cons: Coal burning produce acid rain and release carbon dioxide which cause global warming.
- Cons: Coal burning release toxic gas into the air we breathe, which may lead to health problems, especially for people with respiratory problem and people with asthma.
- Cons: Coal is nonrenewable, which mean it can run out and cannot be recycle.
- Cons: High transportation cost for countries with no coal resource.
- Cons: Mining coal may lead to mining accidents.
Nuclear advantages and disadvantages
Here are the pros and cons for using nuclear energy
- Pros: One main nuclear benefit is the low amount of carbon dioxide because there is no burning of fossil.
- Pros: Can produce high amount of electricity in a single nuclear power plant.
- Pros: Does not need a lot of space to build a nuclear plant.
- Pros: Nuclear is reliable, less chance of power shortage because of natural disasters.
- Cons: Possibility of nuclear meltdown. Nuclear radiation fallout cause by a meltdown can contaminate the environment for hundreds of years. Making it unsafe to live.
- Cons: One major nuclear energy issues is nuclear waste, which is still an unsolved problem.
- Cons: Waste product produce by nuclear can be used as weapons and bombs.
- Cons: High cost for nuclear plant and requires constant safeguards.
- Cons: Require high level of security from terrorist attack.
- Cons: Require Uranium, which is a very rare resource and may last for about 30 – 60 years.
- Cons: Nuclear power plant take about 20-30 years of planning to build a single plant and nuclear power plant last about 30 – 60 years..
“We may be smart enough to solve our problems with technology but we are not smart enough to foresee the problems that our technology will create.” Elbert Einstein.
The feedback on the environment is never immediate on pollution and the collective effects of millions of people using more and more electricity is enormous. Applying the principle of conservation is essential if we were to look after our world.