Power plants fired by coal produce many pollutants (SOx, NOx, radiation, particulate, mercury etc.) the amounts vary by the size and fuel used at the site (not all coal produced the same contaminants). See the Links for data on typical coal plants.
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There are more coal plants than solar plants because the cost per Mega-Watt is much less using coal than solar power, and currently coal is more efficient. The problem today is that in a environmentally conscious society coal is a 'dirty' fuel, and solar power is clean. That is why environmentalists are pushing for more Solar (and wind) power generation.
Yes, much less
There is around 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide waste produced by coal power plants. This is released by a natural gas.
They both employ steam turbine/generators operating on the Rankine cycle.They both produce similar amounts of radioactive waste:Nuclear power plants "burn" uranium or plutonium through nuclear fission. The amount of nuclear waste produced is about 3 metric tons per terawatt-hour.Coal contains small amounts of uranium and thorium, but you have to burn so much coal to produce the same amount of energy, that the total amount of nuclear waste produced by burning coal is about 2 metric tons per terawatt-hour.Some of this nuclear waste escapes or is dumped into the environment, so both power plants also irradiate you. Coal power plants actually irradiate you 100 times as much as nuclear power plants, since their waste is not as tightly regulated by the government:People are exposed to 5 person-rem/year from nuclear power plants.People are exposed to 500 person-rem/year from coal power plants.
They are more thermodynamically efficient because they produce higher quality steam. However they also produce a lot of carbon dioxide and other things like sulfur dioxide, that are undesirable, which nuclear plants don't produce. I don't think using the word 'better' can mean much, both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Much cleaner than coal powered plants (no emissions) - although there is nuclear waste Produce relatively cheap energyProduces extremely large amount of energy compared to a coal plant
The older power plants used coal, but it polluted so much we try to use other methods.
The heat produced by controlled nuclear reactions is used to operate steam turbines that generate electricity in nuclear power plants in much the same manner as coal or oil fired fossil fuel power plants, except the nuclear plants do not produce carbon dioxide and other 'greenhouse gases' released by burning fossil fuels.
In the US, 49 percent of total production of electricity