The Effects Of Fossil Fuels On The Environment And The Ozone Layer Essay

The Effects Of Fossil Fuels On The Environment And The Ozone Layer Essay

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In 2007, the world consumed 5.3 billion tons of coal, 31.1 billion tons of oil, 2.92 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, and 65,000 tons of uranium. All of these energy needs could have been met with only 6,600 tons of thorium, an abundant, slightly radioactive element found in the Earth’s crust.
We depend on energy; nothing in our daily lives could be possible without it. Electricity primarily comes from burning fossil fuels or using nuclear reactors. But the plain truth is, we are running out of fossil fuels. Our known oil deposits will run out in approximately 35 years, and if we increase the use of natural gas and coal to make up for the energy loss, our natural gas will last for 45 years and coal deposits will deplete in 75 years.
The effects of using fossil fuels are starker than their timelines. Humans release approximately two billion metric tons of pollution annually, mostly from the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas; this pollution is destroying our environment and the ozone layer. Ozone and smog damage forests, crops, and other plant life, and reduces visibility. Other pollutants have the same effects, including acid rain, which harms lakes and soil, and even deteriorates buildings and statues. Pollution has many negative health effects as well. Pollutants cause respiratory and breathing problems, and toxic compounds can cause brain damage. Even renewable energy isn’t always cost efficient, takes up lots of space, and can have a negative environmental impact.
Nuclear power offers an alternative; however, the types of nuclear reactors we use today, light water reactors, are still dangerous for humans and the environment. Typically, they use uranium as a fuel, but this has many problems. Less than 2% of the fuel is...


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... Better yet, a liquid fluoride thorium reactor’s fission by-products include xenon, neodymium, radiostrontium, and molybdenum, which are all valuable.
There is one significant problem with liquid fluoride thorium reactors: there are none currently working. However, a small, 8-megawatt prototype was built and operated at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for over four years. Today, companies like Flibe Energy are developing technology to harness the energy from these reactors.
Liquid fluoride thorium reactors have significant advantages over fossil fuels and light water reactors, with profound implications. The most important thing about this potential energy resource is that its use will greatly reduce atmospheric pollution, protecting plant and animal life and our beautiful environment. If we change how we deal with our energy crisis today, we can save our tomorrow.

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