View Full Version : The price of Britain's cheap coal.

22nd Nov 2006, 06:39
Rescuers in Poland have worked through the night in a desperate attempt to reach 15 miners trapped after a gas blast that killed eight colleagues.
The explosion took place one kilometre below ground at the Halemba coal mine in Ruda Slaska, 300km (190 miles) south-west of Warsaw.
Rescue work has been slowed by fears there could be another explosion of suspected methane gas.
the high concentration of methane meant another explosion was possible
The fate of the 15 trapped miners is not known, although their locator devices were not transmitting.
Mr Pawlaszek said "there is a chance to find someone still alive" but another spokesman for the company, Zbigniew Madej, admitted: "We fear the worst for the others".
He added: "The conditions down there are extreme. It is hell. It is impossible to breathe in the area of the explosion, the ventilation has been destroyed."
More than 70 rescuers are using heavy equipment to try to reach the shaft but it is not known if the breathing apparatus for the trapped miners will hold out.
Temperatures in the shaft have reached 40C.
Mr Pawlaszek said the shaft had been closed in March because of high gas levels, but the miners were retrieving equipment worth £23m that had been left behind.
"It was new equipment and that is why we decided to retrieve it," he said.
More than 80 miners have died in the country since 2003.

22nd Nov 2006, 07:10
Current suppliers of coal to the UK are Russia, Australia, Colombia, South Africa and Indonesia. The primary suppliers are Russia and South Africa.

The price of British coal. (http://www.red-dragon-wales.com/SpecialPlaces/Aberfan.htm)

Will Hung
22nd Nov 2006, 07:47
Yeah, and we've still got massive reserves under our feet !

22nd Nov 2006, 08:06
Best place to keep it while we can buy it cheaper elsewhere. It could come in useful in a couple of hundred years.

Always thought it was crazy to take all those complex hydrocarbons and just burn them. So much else you can do with them.

22nd Nov 2006, 08:11
Like what? That's what they're for.

22nd Nov 2006, 08:12
Current suppliers of coal to the UK are Russia, Australia, Colombia, South Africa and Indonesia. The primary suppliers are Russia and South Africa.
The price of British coal. (http://www.red-dragon-wales.com/SpecialPlaces/Aberfan.htm)
I stand corrected. The local unions have always cited Polish coal as being responsible for the deep mines being closed. I believed that firms such as Alcan were importing from Poland. :ugh:

I agree that Aberfan (and Easington) were dreadful disasters.

22nd Nov 2006, 09:38
Like what? That's what they're for.You never watched Local Hero Rainboe ?

22nd Nov 2006, 10:03
Until the end of WWII, the organic chemical industry was largely based on coal. Since, it has relied on source material from oil and natural gas. (Though coal is still a useful source of specialty chemicals). But when the oil and gas start running out, coal will come back into its own. Plastics, pharmaceuticals, there´s a long list....

22nd Nov 2006, 14:53
You never watched Local Hero Rainboe ?

A wonderful movie to be sure!

"How many grains of sand can I hold in my hand?"

If you've not seen it yet, do try to catch it. Not least for the haunting music.

24th Nov 2006, 05:00

24th Nov 2006, 13:57
[quote=ORAC;2979410]Best place to keep it while we can buy it cheaper elsewhere. It could come in useful in a couple of hundred years.

Well said ORAC; good to see the spirit of Milton Friedman lives on a week after he died and almost 16 year after Mrs T left office.

Windy Militant
24th Nov 2006, 15:25
If you look to the North of the M4 as it crosses over the A470 near Cardiff you'll see Castell Coch. This is a picturesque fairy tale castle now owned by the National Trust. It was built by the Earl of Butte as a folly, with no expense spared. It was despised by the local communities who said it was red because the stones were stained with the blood of the colliers who died hewing the coal which made the Earl such a wealthy man.

There's still a lot of bitterness about the way that even after nationalisation the NCB refused to admit that pneumonoconiosis (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/pneumonoconiosis) or Miners lung was caused by inhaling coal dust. It's somewhat academic now as due to the delaying tactics employed all those who were afflicted by this horrible disease have died, including my mums uncle Jack from Tondu.

Haven't had a coal fire for years but I still remember the night my grandmothers house was nearly set on fire by a batch of Polish coal. Unkown to my gran there was a large percentage of stones mixed in with it. These exploded from the heat showering hot coals all over the parlour floor and setting fire to the rug. From then on she refused to buy any thing but Welsh coal even if it was nearly twice the price and her on a pension.

25th Nov 2006, 01:08
Slight tangent gents,

Apparently on kW to kW basis the coal fired energy sector has killed 150 times the no of people as the nuclear sector over the past 40 years (including Chernobyl) ...

dare I suggest a debate... :E

25th Nov 2006, 02:20
nobody dropped a coal bomb on Japan though :8

25th Nov 2006, 02:23
What a topic - Thatcher & co might be regarded in some quarters as saviours, but if - like me - you have worked for years trying to put business life back into communities where the heart and souls were ripped out in the eighties you - like me - would never vote Tory again - and I don't just mean in the coalfields - try farming if you want to see ruined livelihoods for the less than millionaire classes.

My last shock was Grimethorpe eighteen months ago - it looked like Beirut - but still proudly turns out the band. It will take another decade yet to turn Barnsley around

Twenty five years on, though, we now have much unspoiled countryside where slag heaps ruled, villages where coal is no longer king, and factory farming because no other sort works economically unless you do nothing else with your life. There are many villages where most houses are holiday homes that only the city workers can afford. Great if you are an owner - dreadful if you are a kid trying to get on. Lexx & Co are on the ladder, but we have another one to get away yet

Our coal - in the main - comes up conveyors at Hunterston and Seaforth and our manufacturing and engineering skills are all but lost for now - clever wasn't it - but the bean counters say it makes a short term yield that ticks the boxes - so to hell with the strategic view.

The last example I saw was Seddon Atkinson - the truck manufacturer. We went round the works and it was all too apparent that it was now a fitting and not a manufacturing operation.

A truck order was simply a computer print out of components that were assembled on delivery. I said then that such a process could be in Gdansk in a fortnight - well Seville got it - but the principle holds good.

So for the next thirty - fifty - one hundred years we will sit back and be an intellectual economy while the world plays catch up - and then transport - taxation - environmental - costs will conspire to make those self same bean counters bring it all back home.

Will coal mining then consist of miners sitting at Sony PlayStation V37.5 Coalface edition becuase no-one will be going underground - or need to.

Will we be beaming each other up - Scottie - instead of driving?

Whatever - in due time as the worldwide economic playing field levels out some future generation will be working those reserves, farming the landscape, and operating transport system we have no conception of at present - if we aren't all nuclear and fuel cell by then.

The Luddite treehuggers won't stop it happening - because we like our comforts too much and I refuse to believe that Mr Exxon and Mr BP aren't already on the way.

Watch this space - will I be right? Who knows - but in the meantime - UK miners aren't paying the price of coal

Old industry in the UK had to go - Did we have to kill it to permit it to evolve though?

25th Nov 2006, 02:32
Can you make a "dirty bomb" out of coal?

Does the waste from coal burning electricity plants have a half life of 25,000 years?

Does exposure from the waste from coal burning electricity plants able to kill people for 300,000 years after it's been stored?

Does the failure of a coal burning electicity plant have the potential to kill thousands of people for thousands of years after the event?

25th Nov 2006, 07:44
Apparently on kW to kW basis the coal fired energy sector has killed 150 times the no of people as the nuclear sector over the past 40 years Does the waste from coal burning electricity plants have a half life of 25,000 years?
Coal Combustion: (http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html)

.......[People] living near coal fired power plants are exposed to higher radiation doses than those living near nuclear power plants that meet government regulations.

.....The population effective dose equivalent from coal plants is 100 times that from nuclear plants.

......The energy content of nuclear fuel released during coal combustion is greater than that of the coal consumed.

....The amount of uranium alone dispersed by coal combustion is the equivalent of dozens of nuclear reactor fuel loadings.

Study of Hazardous Air Pollutant Emissions from Electric Utility Steam Generating Units -- Final Report to Congress

Table 9-3. Average Annual Radionuclide Emissions per Operating Boiler Unit and per Billion Kilowatt-Hour Electricity Generated

Radionuclide............................mCi/billion KWh

Rn-220......................................1.1 x 10^2 = 110
Rn-222......................................2.0 x 10^2 = 220
U-238........................................1.5 x 10^0 = 1.5
U-234........................................1.5 x 10^0 = 1.5
Ra-226......................................1.2 x 10^0 = 1.2
Po-218......................................3.8 x 10^0 = 3.8
Pb-214......................................3.8 x 10^0 = 3.8
Po-214.....................................3.8 x 10^0 = 3.8
Pb-210.....................................3.8 x 10^0 = 3.8
Po-210.....................................3.8 x 10^0 = 3.8
Po-216.....................................2.4 x 10^0 = 2.4
Pb-212.....................................2.4 x 10^0 = 2.4
K-40........................................5.3 x 10^0 = 5.3

That, of course, is without looking at any of the other particulate hazards or the CO2 aspects of coal combustion.

U234 has a half-life of 70,000 years......

25th Nov 2006, 23:50

Well done. Your research has shown just how dangerous to our health coal burning electricity production is. We release huge volumes of global warming gases and radioactive pollution at the same time.

So both coal and nuclear electricity production is environmentally BAD!

Maybe its time to really develop and ulitilise the renewable non-polluting technologies ASAP, while at the same time doing something about the huge energy wastage by governments, business and domestic consumers. Holistic approach to energy rather than single, quick, stop gap measures that are ineffective and/or environmentally damaging.

26th Nov 2006, 00:10
Here in the UK it's not unusual to find empty office blocks fully lit throughout the night and Industrial Estates brightly illuminated (even when deserted) on the basis of 'security lighting'. Vast lengths of motorways are brilliantly lit, ostensibly on the grounds of safety, even when traffic levels are sparse.
In addition to the energy consumed, there is considerable light pollution, and this can be noticed by the lack of stars near urban settlements (many of which join-up into continuous populated areas).
Are we abusing energy?

26th Nov 2006, 00:46
Some "Late WW2" Luftwaffen a/c were powered by coal...:ok: well Coal Dust.....

tony draper
26th Nov 2006, 00:52
Re street light, I think there was some talk of fitting sensors to street lights so they only came on when approached, a bit like those home security lights,trouble is the lamps they use now would not work with such a system, sodium vapour takes a while to fire up, a person walking would probably be well past them before they were fully illuminated, plus the energy used in the start up would be more then just leaving them on all the time, there would also be the high cost of fitting sensors to every street light.
Had a look at some of these LED lamps and IR floods for CCTV systems they look promising.

Lon More
26th Nov 2006, 12:30
Not least for the haunting music

Local hero theme by Mark Knoppfler (sp?)