31 August 2006

New, clear coal

Paul Wayper has Uranium consumption from coal spotted. A few years ago, Muja A powerplant in Collie, Western Australia was burning 4 million tonnes of coal a year — at 3 parts per million Uranium, that’s 12 tonnes a year of Uranium going somewhere.

Don’t know what it’s doing today, but more power plants have been built since. Can you imagine the hullabaloo which would be raised if an official nuclear reactor lost 12 tonnes of Uranium a year? At the time, coal workers were on the verge of a strike, so the politicians all went quiet about it rather than de-powering the entire South-West of WA by provoking said strike.

So... I’d advocate moving to nuclear power reactors because they’re safer (less deaths per megawatt-hour) than our current set, less polluting & involve a great deal less mining, storage and transport to keep them operational. And maybe the coal could go somewhere more productive instead of into people’s mobile-phone chargers?


Russell Coker said...

What is the density of one "part" of coal used in this comparison? Uranium havine an atomic weight of ~235 is a lot heavier than Carbon and Oxygen. 3 parts per million of Uranium may mean a lot more than 3 grams per ton!

But the real solution is wind, tide, and wave power. No Uranium there.

Russell Coker

Leon Brooks said...

A bit of reflected or absorbed sunlight wouldn't go astray, either, but if we built our houses sensibly (instead of thin-brick mazes) there wouldn't be much of an issue, either way.

Thanks for your comment, Mr Coker, I still remember some of your LCA talks (which for dwindling-attention-span me is an achievement).