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Energy production in Britain and its impact on environment and health - Essay Example

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Energy is one of the most essential needs of human beings. Today, it is used to light up our houses, cook and preserve food, transport people and goods, and many other works.Energy consumption is increasing day by day and is different in developed, developing and underdeveloped nations…
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Energy production in Britain and its impact on environment and health
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Download file to see previous pages Energy is one of the most essential needs of human beings. Today, it is used to light up our houses, cook and preserve food, transport people and goods, and many other works.Energy consumption is increasing day by day and is different in developed, developing and underdeveloped nations. In the UK, as in the rest of the industrialised world, an enormous amount of energy is used. The Department of Trade and Industry estimated that final energy consumption by different sector in UK include 36 per cent of energy by transportation sector, 30 per cent by domestic sector, 21 per cent by the industry and 13 per cent by others (Waste online, 2004).The increasing use of energy is not only putting pressure on the economies but also have an irreversible impact on health and the environment. The current modes of energy production are a major source for emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere which is a direct cause of the enhanced greenhouse effect that is responsible for global climate change. In the UK about 70% of industrial emissions of SO2 are due to power industry (CMEAP 1997). Besides, it is estimated that the amounts of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides emitted by power industry are also large (Strupczewski, N.D.).There are various methods of energy production available in UK for the generation of electricity. About 38 per cent comes from gas, followed by coal (32%), nuclear energy (21%), renewable sources (4%) and oils and others (3%) (Waste online, 2004). ...
Its usage releases greenhouse gases and other harmful particulates into the atmosphere causing enhanced global warming and acid rain. These are a finite source of energy that will eventually run out and the cost of retrieving them will increase significantly, making this form of energy production more expensive than others. Recent estimates say that in 2006 gas provided 39% of electricity in UK. In 1990 this figure was only 1% and it is predicted to grow further. Gas is also used to heat approximately 70% of homes. One-third of the UK's electricity is produced by coal-fired stations. This figure has come down from two-thirds in 1990. Besides, decisions have been made that one third of existing stations will close by 2015 to comply with European law restricting emissions of sulphur dioxide (Waste online, 2004).
Nuclear power is another source of energy for UK. It is generated from the fission of uranium, plutonium or thorium, or by the fusion of hydrogen into helium. The nuclear fission generates heat, which is used to heat water to produce steam. The steam drives turbines which turn generators to produce electricity. The best part of using this fuel is that it releases very low greenhouse gas, the energy generated is very low-cost compared to other sources, and the process is generally clean in relation to fossil fuel use. Though this is a much cleaner fuel than fossil fuels, the risk of using this is that of accidents. An accident at a nuclear power station could result in the release of enormous amounts of highly radioactive material into the atmosphere. Besides nuclear waste can stay dangerously radioactive for thousands of years, and there is still no solution for dealing with it safely. There is also a risk of proliferation of nuclear material. Nuclear waste ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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