Coal Vs Nuclear – Which Is Suitable For Generating Electricity – Lab Report

Part I:

Energy SourceFuel (Coal)/Uranium Needed (tons)CO2 Emissions (tons)Sulfur Dioxide and Others Emissions (tons)Radioactivity mSvSolid Waste (tons)Accidents
Q 1Coal625,0001.75 mil75,0000.25 mSv150,000N/A
Nuclear18,750/7.552,50000.025 mSv62.5N/A
Q 2Coal1.25 mil3.5 mil150,0000.5 mSv300,000Health impairments
Nuclear37,500/15105,00000.005 mSv125N/A
Q 3Coal1.875 mil5.25 mil225,0000.75 mSv450,000Worker fatalities
Nuclear56,250/22.5157,50000.0075 mSv187.5Minor emissions
Q 4Coal2.5 mil7 mil300,0001 mSv600,000Fire destruction
Nuclear75,000/30210,00000.01 mSv250Catastrophic releases leading to radiation


Part II


            The purpose of this laboratory report was to analyze the energy source that is sustainable, cost effective and clean environmentally. The analysis was between coal and nuclear sources for generating electricity. Therefore, the purpose of the laboratory report was to determine which among the coal and nuclear was suitable for generating electricity. It was important to analyze the suitability of the two energy source since the findings would help the policy makers to make informed decision.


            There are many source of energy that are used to generate electricity in the world including hydro, thermal, geothermal and solar. Globally, clean energy sources such as solar, hydro and geothermal are the most preferred. However, these sources of energy are not available in all regions of the world(Andres, et al., 2012). As a result, thermal sources which are considered harmful to the environment are available in all regions of the world. For example, the use fossil fuel to generate electricity is costly and destructive to the environment since it leads to the emission of gases that accelerate climate change. Therefore, the objectives of this laboratory report was to establish which of the energy source between coals and nuclear was better. The two sources of energy are commonly used in United States and other developed countries to generate electricity.

Coal is easily accessible since it mined and burned to generate electricity. However, coal has negative impacts to the environment if used for over long period of time in the sense that it emits a lot carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere(EIA, 2014). In the other hand, the accessibility of the nuclear materials needed to generate electricity is very expensive, but little amounts generate more energy than that of coal. Nonetheless, nuclear materials can have detrimental effect to the environment if radiation are not contained well.

Hypothesis/predicted outcome

            The use of nuclear source to generate electricity is better for human sustainability than coal since it requires little amounts to produce more energy.


            The coal and nuclear samples were provided. The methodology used was to measure the amount of coal and uranium needed to generate an electricity. Other parameters that were measure include the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, sulfur dioxide and other gases emitted, the radioactivity and the solid waste. All the measurements were taken in tomes.


            The findings was that in terms of fuel, coal requires large quantities. Coal also emitted large quantities of carbon dioxide, sulfur and other gases. In addition, coal produces large quantities of solid waste. In terms of accidents, coal has health impairment in the second quarter, workers fatality in third quarter and fire destruction in the fourth quarter. Nuclear had minor emission in the third quarter and catastrophic release in fourth quarter.


            The results suggested that the fuel required to generate electricity when using coal increases significantly in the first quarter to the fourth quarter(Andres, et al., 2012). This also means that the amount of carbon dioxide, sulfur and other gases is high. Both coal and nuclear materials have adverse effect when used for over a long period of time.

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