Presentation on theme: "Fossil fuel used primarily for electricity generation in the United States."— Presentation transcript:
Fossil fuel used primarily for electricity generation in the United States.
Underground Coal Mining Historic – Tunnels following coal seams Modern -Room and Pillar Mining
Trees are clear cut; explosives used to loosen soil & rock. Topsoil is removed using huge shovels. Draglines that are 20 stories high remove “overburden” to expose coal seams. Nearby valleys are filled with the removed rock. Coal companies are required to reclaim the land, but native plants often cannot grow in disturbed topsoil.
Safer for Workers More Profitable for the Mining Company Lower Electricity Cost for Consumers Mining jobs in the Appalachian today Environmental impacts: Stream & groundwater pollution Results in taxpayer funded cleanups Hurts tourism profits, income and jobs Fewer mining jobs than with underground methods Pros Cons
Pros Coal is burned underground releasing hydrogen and methane, which is used to generate electricity. No dangerous underground mining and fewer emissions than burning coal above ground. Can burn coal that otherwise would not be used. Cons Potential for ground water contamination Potential for Sinkholes
McArthur River Mine, Canada Ranger Open-pit Uranium mine in Australia
Sulfuric acid is pumped underground. This dissolves the uranium and the liquid is pumped back up to the processing plant.
Clay layers may allow acid solution to pass through. Groundwater contamination results, and would be impossible to correct. In addition, Radon is released during processing.
Radioactive Uranium is used as fuel in nuclear power plants Deposits of Uranium are found in the Appalachian Mountains