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International Journal of Engineering Research and Applications (IJERA) is an open access online peer reviewed international journal that publishes research and review articles in the fields of Computer Science, Neural Networks, Electrical Engineering, Software Engineering, Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Plastic Engineering, Food Technology, Textile Engineering, Nano Technology & science, Power Electronics, Electronics & Communication Engineering, Computational mathematics, Image processing, Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering, Environmental Engineering, VLSI Testing & Low Power VLSI Design etc.

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  1. 1. Dharmateja Bandlamudi, Sahithi Avirneni / International Journal of Engineering Research andApplications (IJERA) ISSN: 2248-9622 www.ijera.comVol. 3, Issue 3, May-Jun 2013, pp.061-06561 | P a g ePower Plant- A Scientific DisasterDharmateja Bandlamudi*and Sahithi Avirneni***(Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Koneru Lakshmaiah University, India,)**(Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Koneru Lakshmaiah University, India,)ABSTRACTThe present paper emphasisesthesociety’s movement towards improvement ofpower sector as a pavement of luxury and on thebenighted dark side of it. This produces thereasons for enchanting power plant as a scientificdisaster. This paper gives the detailed list ofeffects caused by the power plants mainly on coalfired, nuclear and hydroelectric power plants,their adverse effects on environment and in turnhuman life.Key words: power plants, coal, nuclear, humanhabitation1. INTRODUCTIONNow a days every country is movingtowards development and this development ismostly signified by technology development andpower generation. So every country around theworld is aiming to increase their power generationby establishing new power plants. A power plant isan industrial facility for the generation of electricpower.The energy source harnessed to turn thegenerator varies widely. It depends chiefly on whichfuels are easily available, cheap enough and on thetypes of technology that the power company hasaccess to. Most power stations in the worldburn fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas togenerate electricity, and some use nuclear power.There are different types of power plants but majorpart of power generated is from Coal fired powerplant, Hydroelectric and Nuclear power plants. Inthe name of development every country is ignoringthe fact that by generating each Mega Watt they aredeploying the environment in the same ratio. As afact Development implies Deploying Environment.Every power plant has its severe impact on theenvironment in multiple ways. The major areasbeing affected by these power plants are water, airand soil.2. Problems due to Coal as a major source ofpowerCoal is the only natural resource and fossilfuel available in abundance in India. Consequently,it is used widely as a thermal energy source and alsoas fuel for thermal power plants producingelectricity [1]. Combustion process converts coalinto usefulHeat energy, but it is also a part of the process thatproduce greatest environmental and health concerns.Combustion of coal at thermal power plants emitsmainly carbon dioxide (CO2), sulphur oxides (SOx),nitrogen oxides (NOx); CFCs other trace gases andair borne inorganic particulates, such as fly ash andsuspended particulate matter (SPM). CO2, NOx andCFCs are greenhouse gases (GHGs) High ashcontent in Indian coal and inefficient combustiontechnologies contribute to India’s emission of airparticulate matter and other trace gases, includinggases that are responsible for the greenhouse effect.2.1. Fly Ash: The present coal consumption inthermal power station in India results in adding ashestimated 12.21 million tons fly ash in to theenvironment a year of which nearly a third goes into air and the rest is dumped on land or Water inspite of various research results a consistentutilization is not evident, and it expected that stockspiles Of fly ash will continue to grow with theincreasing number of super thermal power station inIndia [2]. As reliance upon coal as a fuel sourceincreases, this large quantities of this material willbe increasingly brought into contact with the waterand soil environment [3]. This may lead toconsumption of impure water and food causinghealth hazard to the human habitation. New methodsof utilising fly ash as aningredient for differentoperations like cement manufacturing, fertilizers,bricks and road construction etc. may help to someextent in minimizing the effect of fly ash. Fly ashcomprises maximum part of silica, iron oxide andAluminium. When these ash particles circulate inatmosphere they create lot of breathing problems tothe human kind. So these must be isolated from theatmosphere instead of leaving them into theatmosphere.Table IChemical Composition of Fly AshName Formula PercentageSilica SiO2 62Iron oxide Fe2O3 63Aluminium Al2O3 26Titanium oxide TiO2 1.8Potassium oxide K2O 1.28Calcium oxide CaO 1.13Phosphorous pentoxideP2O5 0.40Sulphate SO4 0.36Disodium oxide Na2O 0.28
  2. 2. Dharmateja Bandlamudi, Sahithi Avirneni / International Journal of Engineering Research andApplications (IJERA) ISSN: 2248-9622 www.ijera.comVol. 3, Issue 3, May-Jun 2013, pp.061-06562 | P a g e2.2 Problems associated with radionuclide increasein atmosphere coal combustion:Coal, like mostmaterials found in nature, contains radionuclides.The levels of natural radionuclides in a geologicalformation depend on its composition and geologicalhistory. In the production of electric power, coal isburned in a furnace operating at temperatures of upto 1700°C. In the combustion process, volatileradionuclide’s such as Pb210and Po210are partlyreleased in the flue gases and escape to theatmosphere. A significant fraction of theradioactivity is also retained in the bottom ash orslag .The greatest part of the radioactivity in coalremains with the ash but some of the fly ash fromcoal-fired power plants escapes into theatmosphere[4]. Air pollution in the vicinity of a coalfired thermal power station affects soil, water,vegetation, the whole ecosystem and humanhealth[5]."Environmental impact of coal utilizationin thermal power plant" notes that "Radon is acolourless, odourless but noble gas, which isradioactive and ubiquitously present. It poses gratehealth hazards not only to uranium miners but alsopeople living in normal houses and buildings and atwork place like coal mines, cement industry,thermal power plants etc. Coal, a naturally occurringfossil fuel is burnt in conventional power plants tomeet out about 72% of the electricity needs in ourcountry[6]. It was lesser known hitherto untilrecently that the fly ash which is a by-product ofburnt coal is a potential radioactive air pollutant andit modifies radiation exposure.2.3 Problems due to Mercury as a by-product inCoal combustion:It is one of the compositions ofthe Coal Ash. Reports say that Mercury isabundantly available near power plant surroundingsin which coal is a source of power. Around 70% ofmercury present in rainfall is accounted due to coalcombustion [7]. About 42% of mercury available inthe atmosphere is near coal based power plants [8].Mercury is now recognised by the World HealthOrganisation and the United Nations EnvironmentalProgram as a global threat to human health and theenvironment. When mercury is released into theenvironment, it evaporates, travels on air currents,and then falls back to earth. People can be poisonedby inhaling mercury vapours, of whichapproximately 80% is absorbed by the body [9].This mercury destroys the cell construction andstops haemoglobin functioning, interrupts bloodcirculation and creates cardiac problems as well.Due to this people near power plants are facingdread full diseases like cancer, heart attacks. It istoxic to the nervous system and to the immune,reproductive and cardiovascular systems.3. Nuclear Power Plants as a threat tohuman habitationIn Nuclear power plants the source ofpower is Fission Reaction. Normally Uranium iscombined with a neutron which indeed producesanother three neutrons and huge amount of heat. Byslowing down the process and controlling this heatwater is converted to steam and the same process asin all thermal power plants takes place. The mainproblems associated with nuclear power plants arewhile fission process gamma radiations are released,nuclear waste both high level, low level, and solidwaste.3.1 Basic Equation in Nuclear Reactors:238U + neutron  fission fragments + 2.4 neutrons+192.9 MeV+ gamma radiation [10]3.2 Fission Fragments: These are basically thewaste materials that are available as by-productsafter fission reaction which have highly harmfulradioactive materials which are complex to dissolveor separate from human habitation.3.3 Solid Waste: The most important waste fromnuclear power plants is spent nuclear fuel. It isprimarily composed of unconverted uranium as wellas significant quantities of transuranic actinides(plutonium and curium mostly) [11]. In addition,about 3% of it is fission products from nuclearreactions. The long term radio activity is due to theactinides and short term radio activity is due to thefission products.3.3.1 High-Level radioactive waste: every yeararound 10,000 metric tons of High-Level radioactivewaste is being created by the nuclear fleet. Thetechnical issues in accounting this is dauntingbecause of their long life radioactivity. Two mainproducts Technitium-99 and Iodine-129 take aroundmillion years to decompose into the earth whichmeans once they are generated their radioactivitylasts for million years [12]. Dumping of theseradioactive elements without proper managementand precautions would leads to a serious impact onhuman habitation. The radioactivity of theseradioactive elements generated by human formshave much more impact than the naturalradioisotopes.3.3.2 Low-Level radioactive waste: The nuclearindustries also producing low level radioactivewaste in the form of contaminated materials likeclothing, hand tools, water purifier resins, and thematerials used to build reactors. Almost everyequipment in and around the reactors becomescontaminated with radioactivity because of hugeamount of gamma radiations being released duringfission reaction [13]. Due to this all the humanhabitation around the nuclear power plants are
  3. 3. Dharmateja Bandlamudi, Sahithi Avirneni / International Journal of Engineering Research andApplications (IJERA) ISSN: 2248-9622 www.ijera.comVol. 3, Issue 3, May-Jun 2013, pp.061-06563 | P a g efacing inheriting diseases like cancer, heart attacks,and infections.3.4 Problems in Disposing Nuclear waste: Disposalof nuclear waste is said to be Achilles’ heel ofindustry. Radioactivity demises over time.So properisolation of these waste from the environment untilthe hazard is no longer exists. This isolation perioddepends on the kind of waste. Low-Level waste ifisolated for few hours. But when coming to High-Level waste this period would be 10,000 to millionsof years. So they must be isolated from theenvironment by deep burial or transmutation. Wasteis mainly stored at individual sites and there are over430 locations around the world where radioactivematerials continue to accumulate [14]. Some expertssuggest that centralized underground repositorieswhich are well-managed, guarded, and monitoredwould be a vast improvement. But till 2009 therewere no commercial scale purpose builtunderground repositories in operation. This is aserious problem for the society.3.5 Radiation around the nuclear power plant: Theprinciple risk arises with the nuclear power plantsfrom health effects of radiation. On an average acommon man under goes to billions of naturalradiations normally. But these may not cause suchsevere health problems because they are not activeradiations. One in a billion would of such kind. Butradiations released by nuclear power plants areradioactive and if they directly impose on a humanbody dreadful diseases like cancer may be prevalent.Analysis says that due to these nuclear radiations0.04% of possibility is there for a person to die onthe spot if he undergoes direct contact with theseradiations. Around one hour of life span willdecrease if a person undergoes partial contact withinone kilometre range around a nuclear power plantcontinuously for ten hours [15]. Mining Uranium tofuel nuclear power plants leaves “mill tailing” theresidues from chemical processing the ore, whichleads to random exposure to the public. Reports saythat eventually a nuclear power plant generatingpower continuously for one year may result in fewhundreds of deaths which occur without any failuresin the generation but purely due to radiations.4. Hydroelectric power plant a threat to soiland waterThe name suggests generation of power byusing hydropower. The generation of electricitythrough the gravitational force of falling or flowingwater. It is the most widely used form of renewableenergy. It is said to be having zero environmentaleffects, low percent of greenhouse gases than fossilfuel based power plants. But it is the mostdangerous part towards on the basis environmentalconsiderations. Hydroelectric power plants aregenerally located on the canals, rivers where asudden shift in speeds can be attained.4.1 Ecosystem Damage and loss of land: Largereservoirs required for the operation of hydroelectricpower plants results in submersion of extensiveareas upstream of dams, destroying biologically richand productive lowlands and riverine valley forests,marshland and grasslands. The loss of land is oftenexacerbated by habitat fragmentation of surroundingareas caused by reservoir [16]. Hydroelectricprojects can disrupt aquatic ecosystem bothupstream and downstream of the plant site.Generation of power changes the environment of thedownstream. Water existing near downstream maycontain hardly less suspended substances whichresult in failure of river bed formations [17]. Unevenflow of river water is observed due to turbine gateoperations.4.1 Methane emissions: Lower positive impacts arefound in the tropical regions, as it has been notedthat the reservoirs of power plants in tropicalregions produce substantial amounts of methane.This is due to plant material in flooded areasdecaying in an anaerobic environment, and formingmethane, a greenhouse gas. According to the WorldCommission on Dams report [18], where thereservoir is large compared to the generatingcapacity (less than 100 watts per square metre ofsurface area) and no clearing of the forests in thearea was undertaken prior to impoundment of thereservoir, greenhouse gas emissions from thereservoir may be higher than those of a conventionaloil-fired thermal generation plant [19].4.2 Failure Risks: Because large conventionaldammed-hydro facilities hold back large volumes ofwater, a failure due to poor construction, naturaldisasters or sabotage can be catastrophic todownriver settlements and infrastructure. Damfailures have been some of the largest man-madedisasters in history. The Banquo Dam failure inSouthern China directly resulted in the deaths of26,000 people, and another 145,000 from epidemics.Millions were left homeless. Also, the creation of adam in a geologically inappropriate location maycause disasters such as 1963 disaster at VermontDam in Italy, where almost 2000 people died [20].Smaller dams and micro hydro facilities create lessrisk, but can form continuing hazards even afterbeing decommissioned. For example, thesmall Kelly Barns Dam failed in 1967, causing 39deaths with the Toccoa Flood, ten years after itspower plant was decommissioned [21].5. Water Consumption by these powerplantsThe amount of water usage is often of greatconcern for electricity generating systems as
  4. 4. Dharmateja Bandlamudi, Sahithi Avirneni / International Journal of Engineering Research andApplications (IJERA) ISSN: 2248-9622 www.ijera.comVol. 3, Issue 3, May-Jun 2013, pp.061-06564 | P a g epopulation increase and droughts become a concern.Still conventional energy sources account to 8-10%of the total power generation and thesenonconventional sources coal, hydral and nuclearbased power plants need water for differentpurposes.Steam cycle plants (Nuclear, Coal, NG,solar thermal) require a great deal of water forcooling, to remove the heat at the steam condensers.The amount of water needed relative to plant outputwill be reduced with increasing boiler temperatures.Coal and gas fired boilers can produce hightemperatures and so are more efficient and requireless cooling water relative to output [22]. Butnuclear boilers are limited in steam temperature bymaterial constraints and Solar is limited byconcentration of energy source. Water usage inthese power plants creating a lot of problemsbecause most of the raw water used here is fromrivers, lakes and ponds which is mostly used forirrigation, domestic and drinking purposes. Due tothese power plants the available water is decreasingday by day and even the water left for otherpurposes is also getting contaminated by pollution.The fly ash from coal based power plants andradioactive materials from nuclear power plants isbeing dumped in these rivers. Due to this the wateris getting polluted and not suitable for domesticusage. On the other hand as the water fromcondensers for cooling the steam is being circulateddirectly from the rivers or seas and again into thesame which contains huge temperatures. Due towhich thermal pollution occurs. Which willadversely affect the marine life. Reports suggeststhat yearly around 5% of the marine animals nearthe power plants are vanishing due to this thermalpollution [23]. And they say that thinking abouteconomy will burn marine life and adversely it willeffect human mitigation in coming future.Table IIWater Usage for different Power SourcesPower source Water usage(gal/Mwah)Nuclear 400 to 720coal 300 to 480hydroelectric 1430Natural gas 100 to 180Solar thermal 1080The water consumption by power plants leading toimbalance in the natural ecological balance. Thispollution of water destroying the marine life andhuman life. The International water resourcesanalysis made it clear that around 25% of waterresources available on the earth are just beingcontaminated only because of these power plant.And 15% of drinking water is being used for thecooling and recirculation of steam in thermal powerplants [24].ConclusionThe present society is running towardsdevelopment and ignoring the fact that developmentmeans deploying environment indeed self-deployment. Electricity is an adventures creation bymankind. But proper ways of generating power mustbe invented so that they don’t have their adverseeffects on the environment which is the heart ofecosystem. For power generation natural resourcesmust not be destroyed. Awareness must be createdagainst human civilisation so that electricityconsumption is decreased and new ways of powergeneration are determined and environment is safeguarded. As of sudden these power plants cannot bestopped as the entire world is dependent on thesepower generations. So long term analysis must bemade and new technology must be improved so thatthere may be change in these environmentalconditions. Perfect isolation of these pollutant gasesand wastes must be made so the effect can bereduced to some extent.References[1] Mishra U.C., Environmental impact of coalindustry and thermal power plants in India,J Environ Radio act, 72(1-2), 35-40 (2004)[2] Jamil S., Abhilash P.C., Singh A., Singh N.and BhelHari M., Fly ash trapping andmetal accumulation capacity of plant,implication of for green belt aroundthermal power plant, J. Land Esc. AndUrban Plan, 92, 136-147 (2009)[3] Fulekar M.H. and Dave J.M., Release andbehaviour of Cr, Mn, Ni and Pb in afly‐ash/soil/water environment: columnexperiment, into. Of EnvironmentalStudies, 4, 281-296 (1991)[4] Pvrecek, Lbendik, Pb210and Po210in fossilfuel at the sustain thermal power plant(Slovenia), Czechoslovak j of phy, 53-a51-a(2003)[5] F˙IL˙IZ G ¨ UR and G ¨ UNSEL˙IYAPRAK, Natural radionuclide emissionfrom coal-fired power plants in the southwestern of Turkey and the populationexposure to external radiation in theirvicinity, J. of Environ. Sci. and Health PartA, 45, 1900–1908 (2010)[6] Kant K., Chakarvarti S.K Environmentalimpact of coal utilization in thermal powerplant, J. of Punjab Acad. of For. Med.&Toxi, 3, 15-18 (2003)[7] SenapatiManasRanjan, Fly ash fromthermal power plants – waste managementand overview current science, 100, 1791-1794 (2011)[8] korba.gov.in/kwflyash.htm (2012)[9] Coal ash and mercury: why coal a healthhazard by David Shearman and MariannLloyd-Smith (2010)
  5. 5. Dharmateja Bandlamudi, Sahithi Avirneni / International Journal of Engineering Research andApplications (IJERA) ISSN: 2248-9622 www.ijera.comVol. 3, Issue 3, May-Jun 2013, pp.061-06565 | P a g e[10] http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Nuclear_chain _reaction[11] Radioactive waste, International AtomicEnergy Agency (IAEA), (2012)[12] High-Level radioactive waste, HanfordUniversity (2012)[13] Low-Level radioactive waste,NuclearRegulatory Commission (NRC), USA(2011)[14] “A nuclear power renaissance?” ScientificAmerica. April 28. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-15[15] “Risk of Nuclear Power” by Bernard L.Cohen, Sc.D. Professor at University ofPittsburgh.[16] Robbins, Paul (2007), “Hydropower”,Encyclopaedia of Environment and society3.[17] “Sedimentation Problems with Dams”Internationalrivers.org, retrieved, 2010-07-16.[18] “WCD Findal Report” Dams.org. 2000-11-16.[19] “Hydroelectric powers dirty secretrevealed” by Newscientists.com.[20] “Briefing of world commission of Dams”,Internationalrivers.org, 2008-02-29.[21] “Toccoa Flood” USGC Historical site,retrieved 02-sep-2009.[22] Reports of “US Geological Survey on AnnualWater consumption of power plants”, Mar,2012.[23] “Water Pollution-Marine life” by Adhol H,Professor at University of Maryland, USA(2011).[24] Fanon AmSouth., “Waterresources and itsmitigation”, Professor at StanfordUniversity, USA (2012)