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Coal combustion more harmful than the nuclear?

About this article

An article by Stéphane

Published on 9 January 2006

Short URL: http://nota-bene.org/654

4 comments

According to a seemingly serious article by Alex Gabbard, coal combustion produces more radioactivity than nuclear power.

Americans living near coal-fired power plants are exposed to higher radiation doses than those living near nuclear power plants that meet government regulations

I’m puzzled. (Via Slashdot)


Comments

    • 20 January 2006

    Don’t say that to those poor peasants living near Tchernobyl...

    Nevertheless, _both_ are harmful and no long-term solutions. Even though Nuclear Energy seems cleaner one cannot forget the problem of nuclear waste. I don’t concider Nuclear sources a long-term solutions without a 100% wasteless proccess.

    Hope the ITER Project will end up in something like that.

    ITER Project [fr]

    Reply to Marc Thierry

  • Yes both are harmful, especially in the long run, I was not saying otherwise.

    What puzzled me is the underlying idea I had always had that “natural” combustion was kind of clean because it’s a natural process (we burn calories, forests burn in the summer, etc).

    Anyway. I don’t believe in 100% wasteless. Remember Lavoisier in chemistry class?

    Reply to Stéphane

  • What puzzled me is the underlying idea I had always had that “natural” combustion was kind of clean because it’s a natural process (we burn calories, forests burn in the summer, etc).

    The "natural" has been replaced by "industrialized", I guess. A fireplace is not the same size as power plant furnace. Therefore they do not have de same side effects.

    Anyway. I don’t believe in 100% wasteless. Remember Lavoisier in chemistry class?

    Lavoisier was a chemist, in chemistry there are always wastes. Whereas in physics it is not quite the same (eg. hydro, tidal, or solar based power plants).

    Reply to Marc Thierry

    • 2 December 2007

    It works like this:
    Nuclear reactions produce radiation. The reactors are built to sheild that radiation. Run properly, no radiation excapes into the area surrounding the reactor.

    Coal combustion, (along with many other reactions) does produce a small amount of radiation. It is much smaller than the radiation released by nuclear fission, but there is some radiation. The high volume of coal burned in a coal power plant, combined with no attempts at sheilding radiation, results in a release of some radiation to the environment.

    It’s not that coal releases a significant amount of radiation, it’s the fact that nuclear reactors are heavily sheilded, while coal plants aren’t.

    Reply to Chemical Engineering Student

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