GCSE Physics: Fuels - Renewable/Non-renewable/Nuclear

Advantages and Disadvantages of Renewable, Non-renewable (Fossil fuels) and Nuclear fuels.

Needed to know for Unit 1 of AQA GCSE Physics Unit 1.

Credit: http://getrevising.co.uk/members/krissie2

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  • Created on: 23-04-12 17:07

Renewable Sources

Don’t produce pollutant gases, including Carbon Dioxide
• Will never run out
Economic benefits

• Often depend on the weather, so they’re unreliable - can’t produce energy all of the time
• Most can only be located in specific areas, e.g. on the coast or on high ground
• Many people consider the structures unsightly (visual pollution)
• Can cause noise pollution (e.g. wind farms)
• Infrastructures to process the energy must be located near the source
• Usually produces less energy than non-renewable or nuclear sources

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Fossil fuels: Non-Renewable

• Can produce lots of energy
• Reasonably easy to locate
Economic benefits to the places where they’re located
• Plants can be located anywhere, providing transportation from the source is available

• They release carbon dioxide when they burn, leading to the greenhouse effect
• Some contain sulphur impurities which can eventually lead to acid rain
• Will run out eventually
• The extraction of these fuels often disrupt and destroy large areas of land
• Disasters such as oil spills occur and ruin areas of wildlife

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Nuclear Power


• A lot of energy is produced from a small amount of fuel.
• It is reliable because it is not dependent on weather or other uncontrollable factors.
• Producing electrical energy from nuclear fuels does not produce pollutant gases.
• Only a small volume of waste is produced from a large amount of fuel.
Economic benefits


• Waste is very dangerous and must be stored in a safe location- very difficult to dispose of
• If stored underground, geologic shifts in the Earth can cause leakage into the environment, harming and potentially killing animals. The waste may also get into the food chain
• Although rare, disasters in nuclear power stations can have horrific effects

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