Chapter 16

Nonrenewable Energy


1.      How much of the total energy used to heat the earth and earth's buildings comes from commercial energy? List five key questions to ask about each energy alternative to evaluate energy resources. Define net energy and state its significance in evaluating energy resources.


2.      Distinguish among primary, secondary, and tertiary oil recovery. List the advantages and disadvantages of using conventional oil, oil from oil shale, and oil from tar sands to heat space and water, produce electricity, and propel vehicles.


3.      Distinguish among natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, liquefied natural gas, and synthetic natural gas. List the advantages and disadvantages of using natural gas as an energy source.


4.      List and describe three types of coal. Indicate which is preferred for burning and which is most available. List and briefly describe three methods for extracting coal. List advantages and disadvantages of using coal as a fuel source.


5.      Briefly describe the components of a conventional nuclear reactor. List advantages and disadvantages of using conventional nuclear fission to create electricity. Be sure to consider the whole nuclear fuel cycle, including disposal of radioactive wastes, safety and decommissioning of nuclear power plants, and the potential for proliferation of nuclear weapons.


6.      Summarize current thinking about disposal of low-level and high-level radioactive wastes.


7.      List and briefly describe three ways to decommission a nuclear power plant.  List findings of a 1987 commission which bring the credibility of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to safeguard the nuclear power industry into question.


8.      Describe the potential use of breeder nuclear fission and nuclear fusion as energy sources.


Key Terms  (Terms are listed in the same font as they appear in the text.)

bitumen (p. 363)

breeder nuclear fission reactor (p. 381)

coal (p. 368)

coal gasification (p. 370)

coal liquefaction (p. 370)

crude oil (p. 355)

kerogen (p. 365)

liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) (p. 366)

natural gas (p. 366)

net energy (p. 356)

net energy ratio (p. 358)

nuclear fission (p. 371)

nuclear fusion (p. 381)

oil sand (p. 363)

oil shales  (p. 365)

petrochemicals (p. 359)

shale oil (p. 365)

synfuels (p. 370)

synthetic natural gas (SNG) (p. 370)

tar sand (p. 363)