Natural Resources

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Scientific American notes that the world's uranium supply, the element used to create nuclear energy, can operate nuclear reactors for 200 years or more at stable consumption levels. Each nuclear reactor requires the use of low-enriched uranium fuel to create electricity. It is estimated that nuclear plants worldwide use approximately 70,000 metric tons of uranium to produce 2.8 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.

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  • What are the causes of resource depletion?

    Q: What are the causes of resource depletion?

    A: Overconsumption, or people consuming resources faster than they can be replenished, is the main cause of resource depletion. Overpopulation, industrial and technological development, erosion, deforestation, over-fishing, irrigation, mining and pollution all contribute to the problem as well.
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  • What are the advantages of natural gas?

    Q: What are the advantages of natural gas?

    A: One advantage of natural gas is that it is environmentally friendly due to low emissions. Natural gas produces less smog than other types, including propane.
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  • How is oil extracted from the ground?

    Q: How is oil extracted from the ground?

    A: Oil is extracted from the ground using the three techniques of primary recovery, secondary recovery and enhanced recovery. These techniques are applied to oil extractions on land and at sea. The extraction process varies in duration but uses the same methods to remove oil from wells of all sizes.
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  • What is green energy?

    Q: What is green energy?

    A: Green energy refers to energy derived from renewable sources with a low environmental impact and includes solar, wind, geothermal, biogas and hydroelectric energy. Green energy sources don't create harmful greenhouse gases at the same rate as fossil-fuel energy sources.
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  • How is wind energy stored?

    Q: How is wind energy stored?

    A: According to the Agonist Learning Center, wind energy is stored by compressed air energy storage, and by using batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. Storing wind energy that is generated when the wind is strong and utilizing it when there isn't enough wind enhances the usability of wind energy.
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  • How is crude oil extracted from the Earth?

    Q: How is crude oil extracted from the Earth?

    A: Petroleum companies extract crude oil from the Earth using a perforation in the Earth's surface called an oil well. Crude oil is a liquid form of petroleum. In addition, wells provide natural gas. Refining crude oil produces gasoline, diesel fuel and other useful petroleum products.
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  • What is a lily pad?

    Q: What is a lily pad?

    A: A lily pad is the green, floating leaf of a water lily. Lily pads have a round shape after they open up under the sunlight. They are common in still waters such as ponds or lakes. Some lily pads produce flowers that range in color from white to red.
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  • Which fossil fuel is the most abundant?

    Q: Which fossil fuel is the most abundant?

    A: According to data published in 2013 by the International Energy Agency, coal is the most abundant fossil fuel. The IEA puts the total amount of proven coal resources available at 1,040 tons, which is up 3 percent from 2011.
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  • What is the function of a windmill?

    Q: What is the function of a windmill?

    A: A windmill's function is to harness the power of the wind to generate useful energy for humans. In the past, people used this energy to grind grain or pump water. More modern windmills turn wind energy into electrical power.
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  • How long will natural gas reserves last?

    Q: How long will natural gas reserves last?

    A: The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the natural gas reserves of the United States will last around 92 years. The estimate will hold true only if the national natural gas consumption rate stays at the 2011 levels, around 24 trillion cubic feet per year.
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  • How long does it take to make coal?

    Q: How long does it take to make coal?

    A: The coal formation process takes millions of years. The coal in use today started to form over 300 million years ago as living trees, ferns and other types of plant material. Coal is a nonrenewable resource because the time it requires for formation far exceeds the rate at which man uses it.
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  • Where do fossil fuels come from?

    Q: Where do fossil fuels come from?

    A: Fossil fuels come from organic matter that has decomposed under the intense pressure and heat of the Earth's crust. Fossil fuels are primarily carbon based, although some fuels, such as methane, have higher ratios of hydrogen to carbon. The production of fossil fuels usually takes millions of years to complete. Coal, natural gas and petroleum are all examples of fossil fuels.
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  • How long will nuclear energy last?

    Q: How long will nuclear energy last?

    A: Scientific American notes that the world's uranium supply, the element used to create nuclear energy, can operate nuclear reactors for 200 years or more at stable consumption levels. Each nuclear reactor requires the use of low-enriched uranium fuel to create electricity. It is estimated that nuclear plants worldwide use approximately 70,000 metric tons of uranium to produce 2.8 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.
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  • What is nuclear energy used for today?

    Q: What is nuclear energy used for today?

    A: Today, nuclear energy is used to some degree to provide electricity to many countries as well as act as the main fuel source for marine propulsion for ships in many navies. In some countries, such as France, nuclear energy is the primary source for electricity generation, according to the World Nuclear Association.
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  • How is coal extracted?

    Q: How is coal extracted?

    A: The two main methods used for coal extraction are surface mining and underground mining. The methods used to extract coal depend on the geology of the coal deposits. According to Energy Trends Insider, the amount of coal produced by one miner in one hour has more than tripled since 1978 because of improvements in mining technology and the growth in surface mining.
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  • Will we ever run out of crude oil?

    Q: Will we ever run out of crude oil?

    A: Oil is a nonrenewable resource, which is available only in finite quantities, and it will eventually become uneconomical to extract. New technologies, such as hydraulic fracturing, have delayed that point for several decades, but the total volume of oil is not increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
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  • How does solar energy create electricity?

    Q: How does solar energy create electricity?

    A: Solar energy produces electricity by generating copious amounts of heat, which is channeled through electrical conductors and transformed into electrical power. Solar heat collectors, cooling towers and photovoltaic panels are all types of energy systems that use solar energy. Heat collectors and panels sit on building roofs and over parking lots, and they are strategically placed facing south, where the sun shines with the most power.
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  • How many gallons per minute does a shower use?

    Q: How many gallons per minute does a shower use?

    A: A regular shower head uses 7 to 10 gallons a minute, while a water-saving shower head puts out 2 to 4 gallons a minute. An average shower lasts 12 to 15 minutes, resulting in a use of up to 150 gallons per shower.
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  • How is crude oil turned into plastic?

    Q: How is crude oil turned into plastic?

    A: According to PlasticsEurope, a multinational plastics-industry trade commission, crude oil is distilled into fractions, which are smaller groups of the components that make up oil; some of these fractions are discarded for other purposes, while the ones that are used to make plastics are then further processed. The main fraction of oil that is used for plastic production is known as naphtha.
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  • What are Japan's natural resources?

    Q: What are Japan's natural resources?

    A: Japan's natural resources include fish, agriculture and small amounts of metals and minerals. Japan is notable for boasting strong industrial output and a high standard of living despite having very few natural resources, particularly in the area of natural energy.
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  • What are five natural sources of light?

    Q: What are five natural sources of light?

    A: Natural sources of light include sunlight, the stars, volcanoes, meteorological lightning and biochemical sources. These types of light are naturally occurring and do not necessarily need humans to create light.
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