January 2002
World Almanac for Kids;2002, p66
Reference Entry
Fossil fuels are a major source of energy. Oil, natural gas and gasoline are used to heat homes and kitchen stoves, and power cars. Here is how a power plant uses fossil fuel to make electricity, which is then sent by wires into homes and businesses. Fuel is burned in order to heat water and produce steam. The steam pushes against a turbine which is attached to a power generator. Inside the generator, a spinning magnet produces electricity in coils nearby. In a hydroelectric plant, water channeled through rivers or dams is used to drive machinery like a turbine. Nuclear power plants do not give off harmful greenhouse gases or pollute the air like other types of power plants, but they do create radioactive waste that is difficult to dispose of safely.


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