Coal sludge pours into the Tennessee River

Via Pharyngula

Contra PZ, there was an article on the MSNBC site, but he is right that this has gotten less coverage than I would think it to merit.

Now, this underlines the fact that coal is a dirty fuel and also brings home the fact that it’s about half of United States electricity production, a fact that will have to change if we want our system to be sustainable and have a low carbon footprint (coal is a notoriously bad CO2 emitter, but that is often swept under the rug because it’s so cheap).


About Meng Bomin

Real name Benjamin Main, I am a graduate of Grinnell College with a degree in Biological Chemistry.
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3 Responses to Coal sludge pours into the Tennessee River

  1. Kunshu says:

    This also underlines the fact that the government can’t do anything right, as this coal plant is owned by the TVA (government). Had the plant been privately owned, they would have made sure that their waste would not contaminate the surrounding area, as much of its business probably exists in the area. Flooding your customers’ homes with toxic ehmicals is generally not the best business plan.

  2. Common Sense says:

    Well, I think that is over-simplifying the issue, Kunshu. The US is not immune to the effects of weather, just like every other nation. The retention walls were built to specifications at the time of its creation. That being said, there should have been some modifications made over time.


    It is a dirty and destructive source of energy, but short of nuclear power, it is our best option for short and mid-term power needs. What we need to do is follow more of the French plan and build modern, smaller nuclear power plants as well as change our federal policies on nuclear recycling. It is a cleaner option to coal, less destructive to the environment, and offers more potential. And if we are to increase the number of electrical cars, we’re going to need a rapid increase in electrical supply, of which only nuclear can provide.

  3. Meng Bomin says:

    Certainly I agree. As a source of power, it is cheap and available and there is no way that in the short term we can run our economy with anything other than the massive amount of coal power we use now. But, in the long term, I’d like to see more nuclear as well as investment in solar and wind power. Solar in particular is becoming cheaper as the technology develops.

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