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Barnett 1 Bradley Barnett English 1102 Dr.

Sally Griffin March 23, 2014 Power Plant Pollution One power plant gives off enough pollution a year to destroy the earth. Now, multiply that pollution by all of the power plants worldwide and just imagine how bad the air is that people breathe in daily. The effects of power plant pollution are serious and need to be dealt with. Being part of the environmentalist discourse community, I have read and seen the effects of power plant pollution. The ecosystems, animals, and even humans are being effected daily from pollution caused by power plants. There is more to just what the media says about power plant pollution and the effects of this pollution can be really bad and it needs to be taken seriously before people begin to get hurt. Pollution from power plants can affect almost anything within a radius depending on how big the power plant is. I am against power plant pollution and I believe and hope that there will be some source of new, clean energy that will stop the power pollution as a whole. As an electrical engineering major, I felt the need to join a discourse community, such as this one, because not only will it help me increase knowledge, but it will get me more involved with the world. Power Plant Locations There are about 7,000 power plants that are active in todays society. Each of those power plants gives off an unbelievable amount of pollution daily that is bad for the environment.

Barnett 2 Many power plants are run by coal, water, or natural gas. Usually, power plants are built near a lake or river so that the power plant can use water to make electricity, and sadly use those locations to dump their waste. Even though there are regulations that say the power plants cannot do that, no one never knows what happens when no one is looking ("USNRC"). The graph on the right shows all of the different power plants that were active in the United States today. By following the legend, it says what each color represents whether the power plants use coal, natural gas or another resource. This chart is from 2007 and since then, many of these power plants have closed. As shown, there are more power plants where the population is larger, which is why there is way
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more on the eastern side of the United States than on the western side. Just think that if each of the power plants gives off some type of pollution whether it is in solid, gassy, or liquid form, we live in it. In addition to this, most all rivers or lakes are contaminated at some point by power plants. Sometimes, when the water ways meet with streams coming from rivers, pollution can be transferred over and spread that way. Many of the animals that live near the water holes are sometimes bigger or deformed. The location of the power plant definitely matters to the environment and to the ecosystem ("USNRC"). How Do They Work? With anything that uses electricity, there must be a power source. In the past, power plants have run off of coal, which gives off the worst pollution because so much carbon dioxide

Barnett 3 is emitted during the break down of coal. However, in the 21st century, the use of coal has begun to decrease in running a power plant. Some power plants, like the ones in Nevada, run off of water that the Hoover Dam produces ("USNRC"). Most of those power plants that use water do not give off as much power because there simply is not enough power generated from the water. A positive about using water as the power source, is that there are no pollutants that are given off in the process. Water alone is not simply capable of powering the power plants on the east coast, so that is why the use of coal is important ("Electricity"). The figure below shows the decrease in coal use since 2005. A new power source is emerging and becoming more popular to use because it gives off lower amounts carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide, which is good for the environment. This source is called natural gas. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, which means it was made thousands and thousands years ago and has been stored in the earths inner core. Natural gas is used in power plants by being burning it. The only bad thing about natural gas is that it is not a renewable source. Natural gas takes a long time to be made and if we use all the natural gas up, then power plants will have to begin using coal and produce more pollution. As the graph shows, natural gas usage will certainly surpass the use of coal within the next 20 years but for how long will
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook 2014 Early Release Overview, December 16, 2013.

Barnett 4 it last? That is the question that most people ask but really the answer is, until the natural gas runs out. Overall, natural gas is the ideal use for a good power supply but even if it is better than coal, it still gives off pollutants that are harmful to the earth and to the animals on the planet, including humans (Electricity). Effects of Pollution There are different types of pollution that are given off from power plants. Pollution comes in the form of solid waste, smog, or radiation. The smell of pollution is terrible. A warm, smoky fume that will destroy any appetizing smell that is in the air. Smoke pollution can damage ones sense of smell sense and sometimes even eye-sight. Radiation is also very harmful for humans, animals, and even the environment. The same radiation that is given off when a nuclear bomb explodes, is being produced by power plants and being dumped in the environment where animals and water streams are located. The radiation is so powerful that wherever it is dumped, plants and animals around it begin to die. We, the people, are living in that and also allowing it to happen without any action to prevent it ("Chesapeake). Pollution can be very harmful to the environment. In fact, the pollution is so bad that the polar ice caps near the north and south poles are beginning to melt due to the increase of temperature that the earth stays at. In America, power plants are the number one carbon dioxide pollutant producers with transportation coming in a close second place. With power plants producing so much carbon dioxide, it could really hurt the ecosystems and the animals that live in them, including humans. The effects of power plant pollution can even alter the rain. Acid rain is a result from pollution. When the earth does the water cycle, the clouds soak up water from lakes and rivers that are near power plants that have been polluted. Then whenever it rains, the rain could possibly eat through the skin of human flesh and be very destructive (Fuente). In

Barnett 5 2012, there was about 8,000 people have died worldwide from the pollution caused by power plants (Chandler). The effect that pollution has on plants is very bad. Plants and trees obtain their energy from a process called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a process where a plant takes in sunlight and carbon dioxide to create energy in the form of glucose and oxygen. The diagram on the left shows the process of photosynthesis in picture form. This process is similar to a humans respiratory system. As mammals, we take in oxygen to produce carbon dioxide. Before the humans began to over
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populate the planet and pollute the air, there was more oxygen

than carbon dioxide in the air. The air was completely fresh and much cleaner than todays air. But now, the air has more carbon dioxide than oxygen, which means that the plants have to do more photosynthesis to balance out the mixture. With the power plants producing all the carbon dioxide and humans cutting down trees daily, the carbon dioxide will remain in the air (Levy). Besides the atmosphere, the water also gets polluted. Sources such as lakes, rivers, and even the ocean are polluted from power plants. Usually, power plants are right near lakes, where they will dump the solid wastes that are produced in the process into a lake. The solid waste that are dumped into the lakes tend to be radioactive and could potentially ruin a whole lake for 100s of years (Fuente). The EPA has gotten stricter on this because the direct pollution to the lake was killing off the harmless marine life. Not only does the pollution kill off the animals that live in the lake, but it also effects how long before animals could relive in that area. Along with animals, it affects humans that live around there. If this pollution continues, there will be no recreation

Barnett 6 times at the lake, fishing off the boat, and of course no drinking water for those whose water source is primarily coming from a river or lake. Pollution is not only hurting the environment but it is ruining fun that people have on the water (Abramovich). So not only is pollution effecting the air and waterways but it is also is effecting the animals that live in them too. People will soon realize the damage that is being done to the ecosystems because once it gets bad, there will be no turning back from it. With all of the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it could deteriorate the atmosphere that helps keep the strong UV light that is produced from the sun from reaching the earths surface in massive amounts. If no actions are taken, then the earth will slowly deteriorate and not be capable of life to live on (Curry). Accidents by Power Plants In Danville, Virginia, there was a huge accident cause by a Duke Energy power plant. In late February of 2014, a pipe busted and caused ten tons of coal ash to be dumped into the 27 million gallon Dan River in Virginia. With the coal ash mixed with the water, they had to close down any activities that were involved with the river because the coal ash turned the water a dark brown and made the water unsafe. In order to make the river inhabitable again, Duke Energy has had to pump all of the coal ash from the bottom of the water through a machine that will make the coal ash in solid form so that it can be dumped in a landfill. Even though that does not seem like that big of a deal, it is. Many activities go on at the Dan River such as a local park where there is a camp ground, fishing and where kids can play. Now, all of these activities will have to be canceled until Duke Energy fixes the problem that occurred (Wynne).

Barnett 7 In Asia, there was a power plant that was in Hadrea, India that exploded and caused many people to die. Not only did the explosion kill thousands of people, the radiation caused by the chemicals from the power plants also killed and caused the area around the plant to become inhabitable. Radiation can destroy any living thing within a certain radius (Orishchuk). Solutions A solution to power plant pollution would be a source of clean energy. Clean energy just simply means a source of energy that does not give off pollution and uses nature to obtain power. There is not that many solutions out there for clean energy, but solar panels are the ideal way to go for clean energy. They have been around for many years. They use absolutely no chemicals and are harmless to the environment. Solar panels use the light from the sun to transform the light into energy. In order to get good use out of a solar panels, it has to be a beautiful day outside. With clouds or fog, the solar panels take longer to produce energy because it is not direct sunlight as a sunny day would be. The only reason solar panels are not used is because they are very expensive to make and maintain. Although many cars and houses run off of solar panels, they are not quite reliable yet (Tourneux). Another clean energy source is the wind turbines. These are usually found out west where there is the terrain is flat and open. Wind turbines are extremely tall and use the high atmospheric wind to turn the giant arm. Whenever the arm turns, a motor that is attached to the wind turbine arms produces energy. Wind turbines are also very expensive and costly to maintain if they are broken. There have been several accidents when it comes to the turbines, including planes running into them and occasionally, the arms have fallen off causing destruction the environment below (Muller). Once again, I am against power plant pollution and wish it could stop because not only is the pollution hurting the environment, it is hurting the humans around them too. If the

Barnett 8 government would stop wasting money annually on military, there would be enough money to find an alternative source to stop power plant pollution. I believe one day there will be some type of element that will be discovered that will change the way people look at energy. If that does not happen, I think there will be sometime of clean energy by 2040. Methods The methods I used for this project was reading and learning about how power plants work and how dangerous the pollution they produce is for the environment. I got to interview someone that is an electrical engineer. Jody Greenwood, my uncle, has been an electrical engineer for many years and I asked what his perspective was on the pollution that is caused from the power plants. 1. Do you think power plant pollution should be limited or changed? I feel that the pollution from power plants could be limited or there could be a form of clean energy that could eliminate pollution, but that is technology that will not be revealed for several more years. But what can we do about it? Nothing, because we need electricity. Greenwood is trying to say is that there is no alternative way that pollution could be dealt with besides just stopping it. Electricity is crucial to the world we live in today. Without, more than half of the technology that people have would not work. 2. What should be done with the waste produced from power plants? That is a good question. Personally, I say we just pick one place where all of it could be stored but that would not solve any problems because it would vacate that area.

Barnett 9 By talking to my uncle about power plants, I got to see what he thought about the pollution and how it is being dealt with. The second question really stumped him because he really had no good answer. Honestly, there is no good answer to that question. Pollution is bad no matter where it is put and it is dangerous to the world. I used these methods so I would get a better understanding what my community was about and how motivated some people are to stop pollution. With my research and my interview, I began to think about how power plant pollution could be changed and when it will be changed or the wastes materials being more properly disposed of. Results After reviewing all of my findings, I have come to a conclusion that from the environmentalist standpoint, power plant pollution is a discourse community. A discourse community is a group or club that has similar views and have goals that they want to accomplish. Within this discourse community, many people want to change how power plant pollution is being dealt with. Many people have different views on how this should be done. According to John Swales, there are six characteristics that define a discourse community. The six characteristics are: 1. Common Goals 2. Intercommunication 3. Participatory Mechanisms 4. Genres 5. Lexis 6. Old-timers vs. Newbies

Barnett 10 Most of all discourse communities have these characteristics within themselves and can be defined by whether they have these characteristics. My community contains common goals, communication, lexis, and old-timers vs. newbies. Even though there is not a specific meeting place that I attend, I have done research about this community so I would feel more comfortable describing what the community is about. The goals for this discourse community are to better the environment with the stopping of power plant pollution. With these goals set, there will be the motivation to limit the amount of pollution that is given off from the power plants. Within this discourse community, everyone has a different view and opinion as the other person, which makes this community so strong. One would think that might be a bad thing that everyone has a slightly different opinions but it actually works. Some people may not agree with others but in order to have a goal, all of the positives from the ideas have to be joined together. To limit the amount of pollution that is given off from power plants, people must continue to help and want to make the earth a better place for it to actually happen. The lexis in this discourse community is not easily found. A lexis that is in a way linked to this discourse community would be a governmental agency. Its abbreviation is EPA, which stands for Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA has begun to regulate how power plants dump the wastes that are produced in the process of making electricity. Another lexis might be DUKE, which is the nation-wide power source Duke Energy Power Source. In other words such as sustainable, clean energy, and pollution are also included as lexis for this community. In this discourse community, language is not much different in this community than in real life. As being part of this discourse community, I have realized that there is more to a discourse community than just meetings and the same beliefs. This discourse community could

Barnett 11 definitely improve by using some sort of communication to let others know and understand what effects pollution has on the earth and the animals that intermingle within it. There are no forms of communication except maybe for blogs that people post their opinions on. Occasionally, there will be private conventions and meetings that will discuss power plant pollution but they are for business only, not opened to the public. Also, there are some older people that are involved in this community and of course younger people too, so there are old-timers and newbies. The old-timers have a little more experience and have seen the effects of pollution over a given amount of time. The newbies can learn from the old-timers. Over the past century, pollution has increased tremendously. The oldtimers that have been around for many years know that pollution did not just pop up when Al Gore talked about global warming. Even though people may have been oblivious, pollution from power plants have been around since the first power plant was built. The newbies that are part of the community do not realize that this struggle has been going on for many years now. Conclusion Power plants give off awful pollution that hurts the environment. People should begin to think about the effects and aftermath of what pollution will do to the earth. Not being educated about pollution is not a reason to not help at all. Hopefully, one day there will be some form of clean energy that will prevent all the terrible things that could happen because of pollutions. Help the environment and join a community. Without peoples help, there is no telling what the world will be like in the next few years.

Barnett 12 Works Cited

Abramovich, Sigal. Marine Pollution Bulletin. 62. Elsevier, 2011. 1002-1012. eBook. <http://www.sciencedirect.com.librarylink.uncc.edu/science/article/pii/S0025326X11001 07X>.

Chandler, David. The Effects of Pollution. 1. 21. American Fitness, 2003. 141. eBook. <http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.librarylink.uncc.edu/ehost/detail?sid=b53795de-0827-4a6494ea6b3f02d8503f@sessionmgr114&vid=5&hid=116&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl 2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl>.

"Chesapeake Bay Foundation." Power Plant Facts. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar 2014. <http://www.cbf.org/how-we-save-the-bay/issues/air-pollution/odec/facts-about-odecpower-plant>.

Curry, Andrew. 17. 129. U.S. News & World Report: U.S. News & World Report, 2000. 30. eBook. <http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.librarylink.uncc.edu/eds/detail?sid=0e1db238-04a24dd88facf0f2c930dc3d@sessionmgr4005&vid=3&hid=4111&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzL WxpdmUmc2NvcGU9c2l0ZQ=>.

"Electricity." U.S. Energy Information Administration. Government, 12 Mar 2014. Web. 12 Mar 2014. <http://www.eia.gov/electricity/>.

Fuente, Daniel. Mapping Air Pollution. 2. 14. Elsevier, 2013. 138-145. eBook. <http://www.sciencedirect.com.librarylink.uncc.edu/science/article/pii/S1296207412000 945>.

Levy, Jonathan. Environmental Health Perspectives. 5. 115. Brogan & Partners, 2012. 743-750. eBook. <http://www.jstor.org.librarylink.uncc.edu/stable/4489022>.

Muller, S. Doubly Fed Induction Generators Systems for Wind Turbines. Raleigh : IEEE, 2002. 26-33. Print. <http://web.mit.edu/kirtley/kirtley/binlustuff/literature/wind turbine sys/DFIGinWindTurbine.pdf>.

Barnett 13 Orishchuk. Engineering. 47. Foundation Engineering, 2010. 62-67. eBook. <http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.librarylink.uncc.edu/ehost/detail?sid=0e7da180-b222-47e5b72951291fe0a50a@sessionmgr4004&vid=3&hid=4111&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3Qtb Gl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl>.

Tourneux, Michel. United States. Patent. Solar Panels. Grant, 1982. Web. <http://www.google.com/patents/US4336413>.

"USNRC." Operating Nuclear Reactors. Government, 28 Jan 2014. Web. 15 Mar 2014. <http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/reactor/>.

Wynne, Kim. "Duke Energy." Fox 8 WGHP. N.p., 01 Apr 2014. Web. 14 Apr 2014. <http://myfox8.com/2014/04/01/duke-energy-to-start-coal-ash-removal-from-dan-river/>.