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Environmental Issues

What are the three major sources of energy? The fossil fuels: coal, natural gas, and oil.
What is the major use of oil? Transportation
What is the major use of coal? The production of electricity.
What is the major use of natural gas? The heating of buildings.
How is coal formed? Organic matter dies, falls into lakes and begins to decompose. Over millions of years the layers get thicker and are compacted, forming coal.
What is peat? Partially decomposed vegetation; the beginning stage of coal.
What are the four stages of coal development? 1. Peat 2. Lignite 3. Bituminous 4. Anthracite
What is the product of heating bituminous coal until it gives off water and gasses? Has a higher percentage of fixed carbon, burns hotter, used in steel making, and is very polluting. Coke
"You get the biggest bang for your buck" with what fossil fuel? Coal
Who are the biggest suppliers of coal? (3) 1. Russia 2. China 3. USA
Where are the two major sites of coal in America? the Appalachian Mountains and the Rocky Mountains
Which is higher quality; the coal from the Appalachian Mountains or the coal from the Rocky Mountains? Appalachian
What's the biggest advantage of using coal? It's cheap and abundant.
What's the biggest disadvantage of using coal? It's very polluting.
Explain bottom ash and how it's used. The stuff left over from coal burning; clinkers and ash are used to cinder the roads in winter.
What are the two ways to mine coal? 1. Underground aka Room/Pillar Mining 2. Strip Mining
What's strip mining? What issues go with it? When you take off the top layer of soil to get at the underground layers. You have to deal with: 1. the leftovers (tailings) 2. the fact that the soils banks are acidic and stone so they cannot support life
What are tailings? The piles of stuff left over from strip mining.
What is AMD, or Acid Mine Drainage? Water gets to where the coal was and comes into contact with the sulfur that is still there. The water, now carrying sulfur, continue on, polluting the surroundings.
What is the difference between a brown out and a black out? Brown out: reduction of power because of shortage, mechanical failure, or overuseage. Black out: massive power failure when lack of electricity results in utter darkness
How is oil formed? Microscopic organisms accumulate on bottom of oceans, compress, and heat up. Over time the material from inside the organisms' cells turn into a drop of oil.
Who has the most oil? Middle East, i.e. Saudi Arabia
Earth has maybe ___ years of oil left. 50
What is OPEC? Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries
One barrel of oil is equal to how many gallons? 42
What fossil fuel is odorless, tasteless, and invisible? Natural gas
Which country has the most natural gas? Russia
How much natural gas is left if we keep up the current consumption rate? ~125 years
Rank the fossil fuels from most to least in terms of how much is left on Earth. 1. coal 2. natural gas 3. oil
How is most natural gas transported? By pipeline
When we liquefy natural gas we get ___? Propane
What are the two types of Air Pollution? 1. Primary 2. Secondary
What is the Primary type of air pollution consist of? The direct burning of fossil fuels.
What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning? Sleepiness, dizzy, vomiting, DEATH
Which are more dangerous Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM); large or small particles and why? Small; they're small enough to be able to get deep into the lungs and remain there
The Secondary type of air pollution is caused when...? When primary type air pollution comes into contact with sunlight or water.
Where is Ozone good for us? Where is it bad? Good in the upper atmosphere; bad at ground level.
True or False; the air is cleaner after it rains. True; it cleans out the particles
What does Fluidized Bed Combustion do? Burns coal cleaner; coal is ground into a powder, creating lots of surface space. It's then put into a furnace where air is pumped in from beneath. Burns completely.
What is a catalyst? Allows a chemical reaction to happen easier. i.e. at a lower temperature
What is the most-polluted city in the Western Hemisphere? Mexico City
What state has the most power plant deaths? Pennsylvania
What plant causes more deaths than any other? Tobacco
When you smoke you are exposed to two pollutants. What are they? The tobacco itself, and asbestos. Both cause cancer. Cancer chance x cancer chance
What is a good way to reduce indoor air pollution? Get a plant, especially a spider plant.
How is acid rain created? Sulfur and nitrogen oxides meet sunlight and water vapor
True or false; Acid rain is a sign that there is a problem. False; acid rain happens naturally i.e. lightning and nitrogen
What can acid rain do to aluminum? Leaches it from its surroundings; washes into river/stream/ponds/lakes and kills life there.
What can acid rain do to trees? Not usually acidic enough to cause a problem but it can affect insects which can cause disease in the tree.
What is acid rain affecting in Europe? Statues that were made of marble are being eaten away.
What US city has greatly reduced its air pollution and improved its quality of like by building a light rail system instead of more highways? Portland, Oregon
What makes a certain type of atom that certain type? The amount of protons it has
True or False; most atoms and isotopes are stable but some are radioactive True
What is fission? The splitting of an atom which will result in a release of energy.
What is critical mass? The amount of a substance needed to sustain an explosion.
What is a "dirty" bomb? Chemical bomb that, once exploded, will become radioactive and the area will be rendered uninhabitable.
How much radiation is too much? Trick question! No one really knows.
What is background radiation? Radiation that we are exposed to all the time from the sun or Earth.
Where is the uranium located in a nuclear power plant? In the fuel rods.
Why was the Shorham nuclear power plant shut down and dismantled after producing electricity for only 32 hours? There were concerns whether surrounding areas could be evacuated in case of an accident.
Can a nuclear power plant blow up like an A bomb? Why or why not? NO 1. Uranium fuel is not enriched enough 2. There isn't a critical mass
What happens during a steam explosion? Super heated water will flash to steam and create a huge explosion (not atomic)
What happens during a melt down? Reactor fuel gets so hot it begins to melt.
Was the Chernobyl incident a steam explosion or a melt down? Steam explosion
Was the incident at TMI, human or computer error? Human error
Was the TMI incident a steam explosion or a melt down? Partial melt down
Who were the main casualties in the Chernobyl incident? The firemen from overexposure to radiation.
Which is more dangerous; plutonium or uranium? Plutonium; its highly fissionable
What do Breeder Reactors do? Create extra fissionable material; i.e. plutonium
Why are Breeder Reactors so unsafe? (4) 1. Less stable (harder to control) 2. Use liquid sodium as a coolant (burns in contact with air; explodes in contact with water) 3. Terrorism (tons of weapons grade plutonium in the core) 4. Pipes break easier (running hotter)
What is the Price-Anderson law about? Talks about what happens when we have a nuclear accident.
What is strict liability under the Price-Anderson law? Negligence does not need to be proven, just that harm was done.
What is extraordinary nuclear accident under the Price-Anderson law? Doesn't come into effect until the government calls it; never been used as of yet
What are the three types of nuclear waste in order of least-to-most radioactive? 1. Uranium tailings 2. Low Level waste 3. High Level waste
Does one really have to worry about any of the classes of Low Level Waste? i.e. A, B, C Yes, C class is practically High Level waste
What are the two High Level wastes? 1. Spent fuel rods 2. Liquids left over from reprocessing
How do you rid of High Level wastes? Spent fuel rods are stored in pools of water; some have been there long enough that they have been placed in concrete casts
What level of the government is responsible for disposing of High Level waste? Federal
Where was the government supposed to build a permanent resting place for nuclear waste? Yucca Mountain, Nevada
What group said that would host a monitored retrieval storage facility? An old Indian tribe in New Mexico
What's the biggest issue concerning nuclear power plants? The disposal of waste
How long, on average, do power plants last before they're torn down? 30-40 years
What two countries have committed to nuclear power? Japan and France
Fusion is the transformation of ___ to ___. Hydrogen; helium
How does the sun create its energy? Fusion
What's more powerful; fusion or fission? Fusion
What is the main problem with fusion? As of yet we can only get as much energy out of it as we put in to it. We're breaking even. Not a good power source.
Once we've perfected fusion what are the three advantages? 1. Produces little radioactive waste 2. Plenty of hydrogen to fuel it 3. Safer; if something goes wrong, it just fizzles out
What gas is radioactive, invisible, odorless/tasteless, and naturally occurring? Radon
What is geothermal energy? The process of using the heat from the ground to make electricity
What are the two problems with geothermal energy? 1. Will eventually cool the ground water and make it a chilled zone. 2. Sometimes smells like sulfur (located in the soil)
What country gets almost all of their electricity from geothermal energy? Iceland; its situated on a series of volcanoes.
What are some positive aspects for hydroelectric power? (3) 1. Cheap 2. Non-polluting 3. Renewable
Where is tidal power used? The Bay of Fundy; tides come in, turning the turbine one way. When they leave the turn the turbine the other way.
If we could harness the power of the _____, then we would never have to look into any other form of energy. Tides
What are some drawbacks of wind power? (6) 1. towers are noisy 2. have to build a lot to get enough power 3. no trees can be around 4. kills birds/bats 5. disrupts local TV and radio signals 6. considered unsightly
What are some positives about wind power? (4) 1. quick and easy to build 2. fastest growing energy source 3. free and renewable 4. non-polluting
If you want to become a millionaire, what's a good thing to discover? A cheap, convenient way to store electricity.
Created by: stoniertk28