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39 Cards in this Set

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Fossil Fuel
Combustible deposits in Earth's crust, composed of the remnants of prehistoric organisms that existed millions of years ago.
Coal
A black combustible solid found in Earth's crust, formed from the remains of ancient plants that lived millions of years ago.
Oil
A thick, yellow to black, flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture found in Earth's crust.
natural gas
A mixture of gaseous hydrocarbons (primarily methane) that occurs, often with oil deposits, in Earth's crust.
surface mining
The extraction of mineral and energy resources near Earth's surace by first removing the soil, subsoil and overlying rock strata.
subsurface mining
the extraction of mineral and energy resources from deep underground deposits
acid mine drainage
Pollution caused when sulfuric acid and dangerous dissolved materials such as lead, arsenic and cadmuim wash from coal and metal mines into nearby lakes and streams.
acid deposition
A type of air pollution in which acid falls from the atmosphere to the surface as precipitation oor as dry acid particles.
resource recovery
The process of removing any marerial from polluted emissions or solid waste and selling it as a marketable product.
fluidized-bed combustion
A clean-coal technology in which crushed coal is mized with limestone to neutralize the acidic sulfur compounds produced during combustion.
structural traps
Underground geologic structures that tend to trap any oil or natural gas if it is present.
synfuel
A liquid or gaseous fuel that is synthesized from coal and other naturally occurring sources and used in place of oil or natural gas.
subsidy
A form of government support given to a business or institution to promote that group's activity.
nuclear energy
The energy released by nuclear fission or fusion.
fission
The splitting of an atomic nucleus into two smaller fragments, accompanied by the realease of a large amount of energy.
fusion
The joining of two lightweight atomic nuclei into a single, heavier nucleus, accompanied by the realease of a large amount of energy.
radioactive decay
The emission of energetic particles or rays from unstable atomic nuclei; includes positively charged alpha particles, negatively charged beta particles and high-energy, electromagnetic gamma rays.
nuclear fuel cycle
The process involved in producing the fuel used in nuclear reactors and in disposing of radioactive wastes
enrichment
The process by which uranium ore is refined after mining to increase the concentration of fissionable U-235
nuclear reactor
A device that initiates and maintains a controlled nuclear fission chain reaction to produce energty for electricity.
breeder nuclear fission
A type of nuclear fission in which nonfissionable U-238 is converted into fissionable P-239.
spent fuel
The used fuel elements that were irradiated in a nuclear reactor.
Three Mile Island
A nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania where a 50% meltdown took place. There was no substantial environmental damage and no immediate human casualties.
Chornobyl
The worst accident ever to occur at a nuclear power plant took place at Chornobyl in the Ukraine. Rdiation spread across Europe. The death tole is still rising.
low-level radioactive wastes
Radioactive solids, liquids or gases that give off small amounts of ionizing radiation.
high-level radioactive wastes
Radioactive solids, liquids or gases that initially give off large amounts of ionizing radiation.
Yucca Mountain
There is a plan to store radioactive waste in the U.S. by burying it in Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
decommission
To dismantle an old nuclear power plant after it closes.
passive solar heating
A system of putting the sun's energy to use without requiring mechanical devices to distribute the collected heat.
active solar heating
A system of putting the sun's energy to use in which a series of collectors absorb the solar energy and pumps or fans distribute the collected heat.
solar thermal electric generation
A means of producing electricity in which the sun's energy is concentrated by mirrors or lenses onto a fluid-filled pipe; the heated fluid is used to generate electricity
photovoltaic solar cell
A wafer or thin film of solid state materials, such as silicon or gallium arsenide, that are treated with certain metals so that they generate electricity-that is, a flow of electrons-when solar energy is absorbed.
fuel cell
A device that directly converts chemical energy into electricity without the intermediate step of needing to produce steam and use a turbine and generator; the fuel cell requires hydrogen and oxygen from the air.
biomass
Plant and animal material used as fuel.
wind energy
Electric energy obtained from surface air currents caused by the solar warming of air.
hydropower
A form of renewable energy that relies on flowing or falling water to generate electricity.
tidal energy
A form of renewable energy that relies on the ebb and flow of the tides to generate electricity.
geothermal energy
The use of energy from Earth's interior for either space heating or generation of electricity.
cogeneration
An energy technology that involves recycling "waste" heat.