Nonrenewable Energy. Chapter 16. Core Case Study: How Long Will the Oil Party Last? . Saudi Arabia could supply the world with oil for about 10 years. The Alaska’s North Slope could meet the world oil demand for 6 months (U.S.: 3 years).
After global production peaks and begins a slow decline, oil prices will rise and could threaten the economies of countries that have not shifted to new energy alternatives.
Top three oil consuming nations
Source: U.S Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries control most oil refining.
Supply and demand economics are therefore interrupted by a multi-stage process dictating the supply.
Prices of food and products produced from petrochemicals will rise.
People will necessary move down the food chain.
Food production may become more localized.
More land will be used to produce renewable biomass crops.
Air travel and air freight may decline.
Carries 2 million barrels a day of crude oil from the Prudhoe Bay oil field 789 miles south to Southern Alaska to be loaded onto tankers destined for refineries. Represents 25% of the U.S. crude oil reserves.
Bitumen can be extracted
Athabascan Oil Sands deposits equal in area to U.S. states of MD and VA.
Supply 1/5 of Canadian energy needs.
Production costs high ($13/barrel vs. $1-2 for conventional production.
1.8 mt of oil sand = 1 barrel of oil.
China invested heavily.
Cooling tower transfers waste heat to atmosphere
Toxic ash disposal
Fig. 16-13, p. 369
Multiple technologies aimed at cleaning coal and containing its emissions
1. CO2 pumped into disused coal fields displaces methane which can be used as fuel2. CO2 can be pumped into and stored safely in saline aquifers3. CO2 pumped into oil fields helps maintain pressure, making extraction easier
Small amounts of radioactive gases
Uranium fuel input (reactor core)
Useful energy 25%–30%
Hot water output
Cool water input
Periodic removal and storage of radioactive wastes and spent fuel assemblies
Periodic removal and storage of radioactive liquid wastes
Water source (river, lake, ocean)
Fig. 16-16, p. 372
There are currently 435 nuclear reactors in the world.
Why is nuclear power considered nonrenewable?
What are its advantages over coal, oil, and natural gas as an energy source?
What are its disadvantages?
Decommissioning of reactor
Enrichment of UF6
(conversion of enriched UF6 to UO2 and fabrication of fuel assemblies)
Temporary storage of spent fuel assemblies underwater or in dry casks
Conversion of U3O8 to UF6
Uranium-235 as UF6Plutonium-239 as PuO2
Spent fuel reprocessing
Low-level radiation with long half-life
Geologic disposal of moderate & high-level radioactive wastes
Open fuel cycle today
“Closed” end fuel cycle
Fig. 16-18, p. 373
After three or four years in a reactor, spent fuel rods are removed and stored in a deep pool of water contained in a steel-lined concrete container.
After spent fuel rods are cooled considerably, they are sometimes moved to dry-storage containers made of steel or concrete.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Each pebble contains about 10,000 uranium dioxide particles the size of a pencil point.
Hot water output
Cool water input
Fig. 16-21, p. 380
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