environment,energy,greenhouse,gas,carbon,dioxide,global,nuclear energy,clean energy,emissions,global climate change,environmental impacts, Nuclear Energy Can Save US: Coal Beds as Uranium Mines

Nuclear Energy Can Save US--America�s 100 nukes equal four million barrels of oil per day.


Billions of lives and civilization itself may be at risk from the Global Warming & End of Cheap Oil, Crisis. Rising sea levels and rising oil prices could be the end of civilization as we know it. The problem is so huge that the most powerful answer, many nuclear plants, must be deployed. Currently, America‘s 100 nukes deliver the energy of four million barrels of oil per day. Wind and solar cannot do the job, and may delay the real answer too long. Still, all kinds of clean energy, plus conservation, plus reducing deforestation, will be needed to help the poor half of the world, and for civilization to survive through this century.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Coal Beds as Uranium Mines

A statistic from a decade ago (I can't find the source) said that the coal burned in America contains 35 thousand tons of uranium. Adjusted for today's coal supplies, this would be equal to 40,000 tons of uranium in the one billion tons of coal that we burn each year. Since natural uranium contains seven-tenths of one percent, radioactive U-235 (the source of the energy, the bombs, and all of the controversy), 40,000 tons of uranium holds 280 tons of U-235.
For comparison, America's 2000 tons of nuclear fuel (20 tons per plant by 100 plants) contains only 5%
U-235, or 100 tons. Coal's 280 tons of U-235 is not changed in any way by burning (reactors or huge atom smashers are the only devices that can effect the nucleas). Therefore, coal's 280 tons of U-235 is discharged right into the environment, into landfills, and into the air we breath. The 100 tons in the reactors is transformed into a zoo of radioactive daughter products, but it is also carefully contained and stored.
Uranium U-235 has a half-life of 700 million years. This does not change as coal is taken from the ground and through furnaces, so the 280 tons U-235, discharged from the coal will be in our environment for billions of years. Imagine the anger if this radioactivity was discharged from reactors.
If 280 tons of U-235 in coal sounds hard to believe, note that this much in 1,000,000,000 tons is only 40 parts per million. Per Magnum Uranium, all coal contains some uranium; some coal beds even have 1000 ppm. In fact, a coal source with only 750 ppm is considered to be a low-grade, but still economically, minable uranium
ore.
(If Magnum Uranium link does not work, use www.magnumuranium.com/s/Uranium.asp )

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

From my readings, 40 ppm is the content of the fly ash. 10% of the coal. normal in coal 2 to 8 ppm

shawrich said...

Thanks.I would like to give accurate data. The Magnum Uranium site was accessed thru Google Nuke Notes, but I cannot access it now. Magnum data said U is abundant,two ppm in earth's crust, and some coal 1000 ppm. Does your data just relate to radioactive U-235? or does it give any estimate of how much U escapes into the air? Might this cover the differences?

Anonymous said...

Check this out:
http://www.spartonres.ca/pressreleases/PR2007Oct15.htm

shawrich said...

I'm glad that some company is getting Uranium from coal ash. Just like spent nuke fuel the ash has valuable energy. In fact, I believe that the Uranium naturally occuring in coal has more energy than burning coal itself. Also, what about the Uranium that went out of the stacks at the coal burning plants? Why is there no worry about this radioactivity?

Anonymous said...

That is one of the largest concerns about coal power plants, the release of radioactive products into the air. The other one would be what to do with the coal ash. It looks like Sparton may come up with a way to benefit the clean up of this ash.
I believe that coal plants are far more dirtier than nuclear generating facilities because of their release of particles into the air. There has been plenty of commercials lately promoting the new clean coal plants, but I am not sure what they have cleaned up.

shawrich said...

Thanks. The term "clean coal"meant plants with scrubbers in the smoke stacks, but they just cut nitric and suffuric discharge, but did nothing about CO2, the climate change danger.
The hope now is that CO2 emissions can be sequestered by pumping them underground into limestone where supposedly CO2 will turn to a solid carbonate. This will be expensive, but if true, is the only kind of coal plant that should ever be built.

shawrich said...

Thanks. The term "clean coal"meant plants with scrubbers in the smoke stacks, but they just cut nitric and suffuric discharge, but did nothing about CO2, the climate change danger.
The hope now is that CO2 emissions can be sequestered by pumping them underground into limestone where supposedly CO2 will turn to a solid carbonate. This will be expensive, but if true, is the only kind of coal plant that should ever be built.

Anonymous said...

From Wired Magazine, November 2007:

Book Reviewed: "Power to Save the World" by Gwyneth Cravens.

Pollution from burning coal contributes to 400,000 deaths a year in china; US nuclear plants haven't killed anyone in 50 years. So, asks former nuclear skeptic Gwyneth Cravens, why aren't we building dozens of new reactors, especially if they help solve our globalwarming problems. Let's hope this clear-eyed, up-to-date tour of all things nuclear, including the latest safety data (did you know coal-fired plants emit more radiation than nuke facilities?), sparks a renewed nationwide debate. -Mark Horowitz

I am interested in purchasing this book to see what the hold up of purchasing new nuclear power generating stations is.

shawrich said...

Thanks for the comments. I agree with all of your points. Nat. Geographic, had a statement about deaths in China from coal, a few years ago. They explained the very high number was because many people heated homes with coal. Still is shows what coal plants can do. As for new nukes, the NRC expects to get 30 applications for new plants in the next 3 years. I think they have gotten a few already.