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ALTERNATIVE ENERGY Alternatives to fossil fuel: Nuclear Energy Advantages: virtually inexhaustible supply Disadvantages: expensive, can be unsafe,

hard to dispose of waste Provides 20% of world s electricity, 8% of US, 80% of France Manhattan Project: created atomic weapons during WWII 41- 46 under Roosevelt, led by Oppenheimer, cost $2 billion ($24 billion today), produced 2 weapons (Hiroshima, Nagasaki) After WWII, nuclear used to generate power, first plant opened in 1954, led by Lewis Strauss Operates like a coal plant (generates steam to turn turbines), but heat comes from nuclear fission 1 kg uranium fission = same energy as 16 metric tons of coal Heavy metal radioactive elements used (uranium and plutonium) Uranium-235 isotope: found in 1% concentration in natural uranium, rest is U238. Has to be enriched in order to be used (removal of U238 3% U235 suitable for energy, 90% U235 needed for weapons) Plutonium-239: not found in nature, created by a breeder Free neutrons are fired into nucleus of atoms, they take on the nucleus for a split second, become unstable, and split, creating energy Olympic Dam mine, Australia underground mining takes Uranium ore, crushes it into powder, and soaks it in lake. The soaking poisoned the drinking water and is killing animals. It s owned by BP. Fission nuclear reaction, nucleus splits into smaller, lighter parts, producing free neutrons and photons in the form of gamma rays, nuclear energy uses a chain reaction to keep generating energy The split parts contain half the mass of the original mass, the rest has been converted into energy using E=mc2 Nuclear energy contains a million times more free energy in equal mass than gasoline Meltdown: core overheats and melts surrounding materials, exiting and releasing radiation

Susceptible to terrorist attacks Three Mile Island: High temperatures caused release of emergency valve, steam lost, water overheated, burns pump, core overheats and melts, water contains 350 times normal melted radioactive waste, to prevent explosion, worker opens valve, releasing radioactive steam Byproducts are much more radioactive than natural elements, remain radioactive for many years Yucca Mountain storage under a mountain, but location on faults poses a problem for potential leaks, and current stockpiles of nuclear waste would already fill up the site SOLAR ENERGY Advantages: virtually inexhaustible supply, no pollution, 30 days of sunlight = all fossil fuel on earth, used and unused Disadvantages: very expensive with current technology, not portable (for storage), depends on incidence of light, must be converted into heat/electricity Solar radiation accounts for 99.97% of earth s energy Originates with thermonuclear fusion reactions in the sun, represents all electromagnetic radiation Surface receives 41-47% of energy that reaches earth, only this is usable Solar water heating saves 1200 lbs/year of pollution from gas water heating Passive heating south facing windows, insulation, thermal mass holding heat Solar-thermal electricity: power towers use reflectors to heat one specific point Parabolic dishes and troughs must be rotated throughout the day Solar panels only in places far away from other plants because it s cheaper than running power lines Efficiency is about 10-14% 70% of energy demand is during the day, so traditional methods can be used for energy at night Mitigates pollution from fossil fuels and counters risk from nuclear

GEOTHERMAL ENERGY Advantages: cheap and clean

Disadvantages: not readily portable, very limited sites Uses natural geothermal heat to heat water into steam and turn turbines, only located where tectonic plates collide and generate volcanic activity Hot water system water separated from steam to turn a turbine, pumped back into the ground, very common Vapor system vapor and water exist in low pressure, can be piped up to turn turbines, very rare ALGAE ENERGY Bodymass is 50% lipid oil, which can be converted into biodiesel for power WASTE DISPOSAL Each person in the US generates 4.6 lbs of daily garbage, up 70% from 1960 Solid, Liquid, Radioactive, and Chemical Americans: 8% of world s population, 50% of world s trash Order of solid waste generation: Animals, mining, crops, municipalities, industry Industry waste has highest toxic content, but municipal waste still has things like cleaning chemicals OPEN DUMPS Oldest, most unhygienic method Minimum effort/expense, Unsightly, rats/insects, fire hazard Surface water draining through can absorb toxic chemicals, entering watershed, trash scattered by wind/water, toxic gases, EPA tries to stop them but estimates hundreds of thousands still open SANITARY LANDFILLS Regulating, dumping, and covering trash with layers of dirt Every day, trash is compacted and covered with layer of dirt Located in valleys or old mines, low topography, deep water table, low precipitation, over low hydrologic conductivity (good aquifer=bad landfill) When site is full, very thick layer is placed on top, and land can be used for other purposes, like golf courses or skateparks, but no buildings

Gases released into atmosphere, heavy metals into soil, soluble material in groundwater, surface runoff can pick up leachate, crops pick up metals from soil, plant residue containing toxic material forms new soil, paper and plastic transformed by wind Love Canal, NY built over landfill, toxic waste seeped onto surface INCINERATION Burn trash at high temps, still needs landfill space for ash Advantages: Reduces space in landfills, potential for heat/energy Disadvantages: contributes to toxic gases like CO2, chlorine, hydrochloric acid; much of urban waste is noncombustible Material burned, ash collected in water chamber, ash and particulates burned in secondary chamber (higher heat), scrubber eliminates particulates and acid-formers, CO2, water, and air emitted from smokestack RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT Disposal of low-level: must be kept isolated for 500 years, dumps in SC, gives jobs and money to Barnwell County Suitable conditions for burial of low-level radioactive waste: low erosion, moderate hydrologic conductivity, low rainfall, deep water table, slow moving groundwater, absence of surface water Materials from nuclear reactors must wait 10 half-lives to be reintroduced. Plutonium-239 is 24,000 year half-life, Strontium-90 is 28 years Requirements for storing high-level radioactive waste: host rock (tuff is tough), arid climate, low population density, low water table, no useful mineral resources OCEAN DUMPING Dredge spoils, industrial wastes, construction/demolition debris, solid waste, radioactive waste In 1981, EPA released a statement condoning ocean dumping Things banned for ocean dumping: material with questionable effect on marine life, material that won t sink, higher than natural levels of trace compounds, oils Kills/retards growth/causes reproductive complications in marine life, reduces dissolved oxygen, algal blooms on nutrient-rich waste result in oxygen depletion, poisoning of fish eaten by humans, loss of beaches and wetlands, economic loss in fishing industry Solution: admit the ocean is a limited resource, economical and environmental alternative (or stop?)

RECYCLING Recycling aluminum requires 5% of the energy of making new aluminum US recycles 33.8% of its trash Each week s Sunday papers require 500,000 trees, recycling a single Sunday run of the NY Times would save 75,000 trees 1 billion trees worth of paper thrown away every year Glass has landfill lifetime of 1,000,000 years, recycling glass requires 1/3 energy of making new glass WATER POLLUTION Water pollution degradation of the quality of water by biological/physical chemical substance Pollutant substance whose excess causes harm to living organisms Sources of water pollution: leaks (storage tanks, landfills, etc), seepage from septic systems, spills (oil, etc), salt water into coastal aquifers, seepage from spray irrigation, acid water from mine, runoff and sediment Types of pollutants sediments, nutrients (sewage, fertilizer), pesticides, salt (road salt, saline intrusion), toxic (manufactured products like oil, paint, anti-freeze) Nutrients (Nitrogen and Phosphorous) Fertilizer with needed nitrogen and phosphorous added to farmlands, runoff goes into watersheds N and P also found in detergents, limited use of phosphates in products now Eutrophication increased nutrients in water, causing thick sheets of algae to grow on water, causes red tide (stops fishing/shellfish industry), alien fish species, etc Sediment Excess sediment considered greatest pollutant with most effect on habitats Fills up storm drains, increasing flooding; murky water prevents vegetation growth, can clog fish gills; messes up food chain by destroying the habitat where the smallest organisms live; increases cost of treating drinking water Natural erosion contributes 30%, but land use accounts for 70% Most sediment comes from construction activities

Things that enhance aquatic resources include structural habitat enhancement, pollution control, bank stabilization Broad River was filled with sediment due to irresponsible practices during British settlement Rivers are very dynamic, respond quickly to changes in sediment Some fish rely on very low sediment for spawning and residential habitat Project to restore Broad River objectives 1. Develop a sediment budget (where sediment comes from and how it travels) 2. Define hydrologic dynamics in relation to sand mines 3. Define relation between physical habitat and marine life 4. Evaluate sediment removal technologies Animal Waste Diseases include cholera, typhoid fever, E. coli, hepatitis A, and dysentery Toxic Oil spills, Exxon Valdez was spill into pristine environment, had a major impact on wildlife Deepwater Horizon oil spill, largest in history, rig exploded killing 11 and injuring 17, well capped after 3 months, releasing 4,900,000 barrels of crude oil into ocean; 53,000 a day, shut down fishing industry in 4200 square miles of gulf, dumped 150,000 gallons of detergent-like substance into gulf to blend oil and water, wetlands grass still dying, destroying barrier islands, still a 210 sq km kill zone near site of well Surface water pollution Comes from two souces Point sources industrial sites and outflows for sewage systems, come from one point Non-point sources pollution runoff (urban: factories, parking lots; rural: farming, mining, forestry; rain) Mercury occurring naturally and from manufactured sources Methylmercury most toxic type, affects senses and embryo formation Elemental mercury causes tremors, excitability, and gingivitis when vapors are inhaled, used to extract gold at mines

Population at highest risk for mercury poisoning, unborn children of mothers who consume large amounts of seafood Several states have fish consumption advisories, and mercury has adverse effects on animals consuming mostly fish, like the loon and ducks Once in the atmosphere, mercury is disseminated throughout the atmosphere and circulates for years 1 gram in a 27 acre lake is contamination Mercury undergoes bioaccumulation, it takes about 70 days for a human to get rid of half of its body burden of Hg Humans get mercury from consumption of fish and from breating air (our bodies are adapted to recovery from inhaling, but not consumption of methylmercury) Fillings, mad hatter syndrome (from mercury used to make felt) March 2011 EPA puts limits on mercury, possibly from Alice in Wonderland 1968 Cuyahoga River ignites and burns for days from oily pollution, led to Clean Water Act To fix: wait and let nature take its course, extract filter and return, on-site decontaminations with chemicals AIR POLLUTION Four principal elements in air: nitrogen, oxygen, water vapor, argon gas Major pollutants: carbon monoxide FROM CARS/BRAIN DOESN T GET ENOUGH OXYGEN, nitrogen oxides SMOG OZONE, sulfur oxides ACID RAIN, volatile organic compounds - METHANE, particulates SUSPENDED PARTICLES IN THE AIR (volcanic ash, dust storms, sea spray, etc) Pollutants broken down into primary (come directly from an action, like driving a car, burning coal, etc) and secondary (resulting from interaction between primary pollutants, like a ground level ozone) 4% of deaths each year attributable to air pollution Deposits in soil and water, affects plant growth, gives animals respiratory problems, irritates human eyes and respiration, reduces atmospheric clarity Particulates not just in urban areas (burning sugar cane fields in tropics, dust storms, volcanoes) Cooling effect when ash reflects sunlight Hole in ozone layer above Antarctica announced in 1985

Less ozone more skin cancer, more cataracts Ground ozone often called LA smog, warm air coming over mountains holds pollutants in LA area (coastal inversion), or valley inversion like in Knoxville December 1952 London Smog that killed thousands over 4 days, cold air rested stagnant below warm air, they started burning furnaces to warm their homes which released massive amounts of pollutants that just sat there, which made it colder, which led to them burning MORE coal, many died, all cattle died with black lungs, visibility fell to one foot GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN Debate wanted to bar the EPA from limiting CO2 emissions, Obama said he would veto