Glossary of Environmental Voc

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Alpha radiation
A type of radiation consisting of a particle with two neutrons and two protons.
Beta radiation
A type of radiation consisting of an electron released from the nuclei of many fissionable atoms.
Boiling- water reactor (BWR)
A type of light water reactor in which steam is formed directly in the reactor and is used to generate electricity
Decontaminationg and disassembling a nuclear power plant and a safety disposing of a radioactive materials
The Property of the nucleus of some atoms that allows them to split into smaller particles.
Gamma radiation
A type of electromagnetic radiation that comes from disintegrationg atomic nuclei.
Gas-cooled rector
A type of nuclear reactor that uses graphite as a moderator and a carbon dioxide or helium as a coolant.
Heavy-water reactor
A type of nuclear reactor that uses the hydrogen isotope deuterium in the molecular structure of the coolant water.
Light-water reactor (LWR)
A nuclear reactor that uses ordinary water as a coolant.
Liquid metal fast-breeder reactor (LMFBR)
Nuclear fission reactor using liquid sodium as the moderator and heat transfer medium; produces radioactive plutonium – 235 which can be used as a nuclear fuel.
Material that absorbs the energy from neutrons released by fission
Nuclear breeder reactor
Nuclear fission reactor made to produce radioactive fuel from nonradiactive uranium and at the same time release energy to use in the generation of electricity.
Nuclear chain reactor
A continuous process in which a splitting nucleaus realses neutrons that strike and split the nuclei of other atoms, releasing nuclear energy.
Nuclear fission
The decomposition of an atom’s nucleus with the release of particles and energy
Nuclear fusion
The union of smaller nuclei to from a heavier nucleus accompanied by the release of energy.
239 (Pu 239) A radioactive isotope produced in a breeder reactor and used as a nuclear fuel.
Type of light-water reactor in which the water in the reactor is kept as high pressure and steam in formed in a secondary loop.
Energy that travels through space in the form of waves or particles.
Unstable nuclei that release particles and energy as they disintegrate.
Radioactive half line
The time it takes for half of the radioactive material to spontaneously disintegrate.
Measure of the biological damage to issue caused by certain amounts of radiation
Thermal pollution
Waste heat that industries release into the environment
Transuranic waste
Nuclear waste of the U.S weapons program that consist primarily of isotopes of plutonium.
Fuel nuclear fission reactor
Able to be broken down by natural biological processes.
The measure of the variety of kinds of organisms present in an ecosystem
Forest harvesting method in which all the tress in a large area are cut and removed
A term used to refer to any ser of physical features that conceals or protects animals from their elements or their enemies.
The conversion of arid and semiarid lands into deserts by inappropriate farming practices or overgrazing
economic cost
Those monetary cost that are necessary to exploit a natural resources.
environmental cost
Damage done to the environmental as a resource is exploited.
The death of a species; the elimination of all the individuals of a particular kind.
habitat management
The process of charging the natural community to encourage the increase in populations of certain desirable species
migratory birds
Birds that fly considerable distances between their summer breeding areas and their winter areas.
natural resources
Those structures and processes that can be used by humans for their own purposes but cannot be created by them
nonrenewable resources
Those resources that are not replace by natural processes or those whose rate of replacement is so slow as to be noneffective.
patchwork clear-cutting
A forest harvest method in which patches of tress are clear-cut among patches of timber that are left untouched.
Any addition of matter or energy that degrades the environment for humans and other organism.
reforestation –
The process of replanting areas after the original tress are removed.
selective harvesting
A forest harvesting method in which individual high-value tress are removed from the forest, leaving the majority of the forest undisturbed.
Designation of land use for the exclusive protection of the area’s natural wildlife; thus, no human developed is allowed.
Buildings and land that have been abandoned because they are contaminated and the cost of cleaning up the site is high.
Lowland area on either side of a river that is periodically covered by water.
Land- use planning
The process of evaluating the needs and wants of the population, the characteristics and values of the land and various alternative solutions before changes in land use are made
A large regional urban center.
Ribbon sprawl
Developed along transportation routes that usually consists of commercial and industrial building.
Tract development
The construction of similar residential units over large areas.
Urban growth limit
A boundary established by municipal government that encourages development that encourages development within the boundary and prohibits it outside the boundary.
Urban sprawl
A pattern of unplanned low density housing and commercial development outside of cities that usually takes place on previously undeveloped land.
Type of land-use regulation in which land is designated for specific potential use such as agriculture commercial residential reactional and industrial
chemical weathering
Processes that involve the chemical alteration of rock in such a manner that it is more likely to fragment or to be dissolved.
conservation tillage
Method to further reduce the amount of disturbance to the soil and leave 30 percent or more of the soil surface covered with crop residue following planting.
contour farming
A method of tilling and planting at right angles to the slop which reduces soil erosion by runoff
A soil characteristic that describes how well a soil crumbles.
Partially decomposed organic matter typically found in the top later of the soil.
A combination of the crust and outer later of the mantle that forms the plates that move over the Earth’s surface
A layer of undecomposed or partially decomposed organic matter on the soil surface.
Soil type with good drainage and good texture that is deal for growing crops
mechanical weathering
Physical forces that reduce the size of rock particles without changing the chemical nature of the rock.
parent material
Material that is weathered to become the mineral part of the soil.
plate tectonics –
The concept that the outer surface of the Earth consists of large plates that are slowly moving over the surface of a plastic layer.
The mixture of mineral material organic matter, air, water, and living organisms that are capable of supporting plant life
soil structure
The way that soil particles that clump together. Sand has little structure because that particles do not stick to one another.
Level area constructed on steep slopes to allow agriculture without extensive erosion.
Alternative agriculture
All nontraditional agriculture practices
Plant hormone that stimulates growth
A kinds of chemical that kills many different types of living things
The increases in the amount of a material in the bodies of organism at successively higher trophic level.
Inserting specific pieces of DNA into the genetic makeup of organisms
A class of soft pesticides that work by interfering with normal nerve impulses.
Chlorinated hydrocarbons
A class of pesticide consisting of carbon, hydrogen, and chlorine; these pesticides are very stable
A pesticide designed to kill or control fungi
Green Revolution
The introduction of new plant varieties and farming practices that increased agriculture production worldwide durning the 1950 – 1970.
A pesticides designed to kill or control insects
Integrated pest management
A method of pest management in which many aspects of the pest’s biology are exploited to control its number
A nutrient such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and postassium that is required in relatively large amounts by plants
A nutrient needed in extremely small amounts for proper plant grower examples are boron, zinc, and magnesium.
A class of soft pesticides that work by interefering with normal nerve impulses.
A chemical produced by one animal that changes the behavior of another.
Activated- sludge sewage treatment
Method of treating sewage in which some of the sludge is returned to aeration tanks, where it is mixed with incoming wastewater to encourage degradation of the wastes in the sewage
An impervious confining layer of an aquifer.
A porous layer of earth material that becomes saturated with water.
Artesian Well
The result of a pressurized aquifer being penetrated by a pipe or conduit, within which water rises without being pumped
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
The amount of oxygen required by microbes to degrade organic molecules in aquatic ecosystems.
The enrichment of water (natural or cultural) with nutrients.
Fecal Coliform Bacteria
Bacteria found in the intestines of humans and other animals, often used as in indicator of water pollution.
Water that infiltrates the soil and is stored in the spaces between particles in the earth.
Groundwater mining
Removal of water from an aquifer faster than it is replaced
Hydrologic Cycle
Constant movement of water from surface water to air and back to surface water as a result of evaporation and condensation.
Limiting factor
The one primary condition of the environment that determines population size of an organism.
Nonpoint source
Diffuse pollutants, such as agricultural runoff, road salt, and acid rain, that are not from a single, confined source.
A measure of the size and number of spaces in an aquifer.
Primary sewage treatment
Process that removes larger particles by settling or filtering raw sewage through large screen.
Water that moves across the surface of the land and enters a river system
An increase in the amount of slat in soil due to the evaporation of irrigation water.
Sewage sludge
Mixture of organic material, organisms, and water in which the organisms consume the organic matter.
Tertiary sewage treatment
Process that involves a variety of different techniques designed to remove dissolved pollutants left after primary and secondary treatments
Vadose Zone
Zone above the water table and below the land surface that is not saturated with water.
Water table
Top of the layer of water in an aquifer
Acid deposition
The accumulation of potential acid-forming particles on a surface
Carbon dioxide
A normal component of the Earth’s atmosphere that is elevated concentrations may interfere with the Earth’s heat budget.
Carbon monoxide
A primary air pollutant produced when organic materials such as gasoline, coal, wood, and trash are incompletely burned.
Stable compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, chlorine, and fluorine. They are formed used as refrigerants, propellants in aerosol containers and expanders in foam products. They are linked to the depletion of the ozone layer.
A unit used to measure the loudness of sound
Greenhouse effect
The property of carbon dioxide that allows light energy to pass through the atmosphere but prevents heat from leaving; similar to the action of glass in a greenhouse.
Greenhouse gas
Gas in the atmosphere that allows sunlight to enter but retards the outward flow of heat from the earth.
Hydrocarbons (HC)
Group of organic compounds consisting or carbon and hydrogen atoms that are evaporated from fuel supplies or are remnants of the fuel that didn’t burn the entire way and act as a primary air pollutant.
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO 2)
A compound composed of one atom of nitrogen and two atoms of oxygen; a secondary air pollutant.
Nitrogen Monoxide (NO)
A compound of composed of one atom of nitrogen and one atom of oxygen a primary air pollutant.
Ozone (O3)
Molecule consisting of three atoms of oxygen, which absorb much of the sun’s ultra violet energy before it reaches the earth’s surface.
Particulate matter
Minute solid particles and liquid droplets dispread into the atmosphere.
Photochemical smog
Yellowish brown haze that is the result of the interaction of hydrocarbons, oxides of nitrogen and sunlight.
Primary air pollutants
Types of unmodified materials that, when released into the environment in sufficient quantities are considered hazardous.
Radioactive gas emitted from certain kinds of rock, can accumulate in very tightly sealed buildings.
Secondary air Pollutants
Pollutants produced by the interaction of primary air pollutants in the presence of an appropriate energy source.
Thermal inversion
The condition in which arm air in a valley is sandwiched between two layers of cold air and acts like lid on the valley.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Airborne organic copinds; primary air pollutants.
Leachate – Contaminant
laden water that flows from landfills or other contaminated sites
Municipal solid waste landfill
A waste storage site constructed above an inpernable clay later that is lined with impermeable membrance and includes mechanisms for dealing with liquid and gas materials generated by the contents of the landfill.
Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability (CERCLA)
The 1980 U.S law that addressed the cleanup of hazardous-waste sites.
The ability of a chemical to degrade standard materials.
All dangerous materials including toxic ones that present an immediate or longterm human health risk or environmental risk.
Hazardous substances
Substances that can cause harm to humans or the environment.
Hazardous waste
Substances that could endanger life if released into the environment.
Characteristic of materials that results in their ability to combust.
Method of disposing of solid waste by burning
National Priority List
List of hazardous waste dump sites requiring urgent attention as identificed by Superfund legislation.
Nonperistent pollutant
Those pollutants that do not remain in the environment for long periods.
A narrow group of substance that are poisonous and cause death or serious injury to humans and other organisms by interfering with normal body physiology
The interaction of materials or energy that increase the potential for harm.
The common name given to the U.S 1980 comprehensive Environmetal Response Compensation and Liability Act which was designed to address hazardous-waste sites.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) 1976 U.S.
law that specifically addressed the issues of hazardous waste.
The property of materials that indicates the degree to which a material is likely to react vigorously to water or air or to become unstable or explode.
Pollution-prevention hierarchy
Regulatory controls that emphasize reducing the amount of hazardous waste produced

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