“Political action has begun, with a view to building a thermal nuclear power station in your locality and winding your State’s use of coal. The uranium is to be mined in St Australia. Decisions about waste disposal have not yet been finalized.” Your local newspaper is developing an education feature section to inform the readers about key aspects of the debate. You must write a background article that briefly outlines the major issues and explains the relevant physics principles.
THE BATTLE BETWEEN POWER STATIONS
Have you ever wondered exactly how the electricity is distributed to your home? It all starts at a fossil fuelled power plant where coal is burnt to produce electricity, the fire created by the burning of the coal heats a large water tank which turns into high pressured steam. That high pressured steam is shot out directly at a spinning turbine which is connected to a power generator. As the generator spins, two internal magnets cross over wires to create electricity. The electricity leaves the generator and travels through power lines and out into the power grid. This distribution of power has its advantages and disadvantages such as fossil fuel plants are cheap to build and coal is cheap and is a highly reliable source of energy and it is also easy to transport from one place to another. The disadvantages are that they emit hazardous gases and that coal is a non-renewable resource and that coal will eventually run out The debate between whether fossil fuelled plants is the best source of power has been going on for a while now but as coal is a non-renewable resource, coal will run out one day and according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the 2008 rate of production of around 490 Mt per year the EDR are adequate to support about 90 years of production. Since that date the government has seriously been thinking about reducing the amount of coal that is used up by thinking about alternative sources of power...
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