In physics and thermodynamics, a closed system means a natural or human system that does not interact with its environment in such a way that it exchanges matter with its environment. In an isolated system, neither matter nor energy would be exchanged. The fact is that there is no isolated system except the entire space itself, and not a single completely closed system can be found on the surface of the earth or the entire lithosphere and bedrock. This is a remarkably important thing to understand in environmental science. That is, all systems interact with their environment and substances and energy ALWAYS move between them. This is because natural systems interact with each other and with human devices and substances circulate, everything breaks down and dissolves according to the law of entropy, temperature differences, pressure differences, acidity differences, concentration differences, etc. tend to equalize, chaos and disorder grow. Entropy is an absolute prerequisite for all the functioning of nature and cycles important to humans and the biosphere. Without entropy, there would be no wind, water and nutrient circulation, erosion and soil, endogenous processes, mountains, rivers. There would be no life without entropy. So everything should flow and circulate. However, humans disturb these cycles, e.g. by putting carbon into the atmosphere, and this causes problems, such as climate change. In addition, humans constantly release substances into the environment that do not naturally belong there at all. For example. lead and uranium are substances that nature has not encountered for millions of years, and it has not prepared in any way for them to be lifted from the earth’s bosom into circulation. Evolution has not learned to deal with them because of that. That is, since there is no closed system on or near the surface of the earth, it is not even technically possible to build a factory or a mine that would not release matter such as particles, dust, liquids, gases, pollution and energy emissions into the environment, such as sound, light, heat. and radiation. A factory and a mine that processes toxins always causes toxic emissions into the environment, such as water and air. If a certain poison or emission can be cleaned, e.g. with the help of a catalyst almost completely, then this poison and emission must be disposed of somewhere, even if recovered. Water, air, soil materials, everything is in constant motion and circulation, substances and energy move with them. Between the different cycles of nature, the hydrosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere and biosphere, there is a constant circulation of elements and compounds, especially water. Huge amounts of emissions and toxins circulate, especially when dissolved in water. Water even passes through solid bedrock along its pores. Stalactite caves are nature’s own beautiful example of this. In the atmosphere, particles, emissions and aerosols or radioactive fallout move quickly far with the winds. Everything flows. So a mine, power plant or factory always pollutes. There is no such seal or technology that would stop all toxins and emissions. Of course, other mines release more poison into the environment, e.g. a uranium mine, and e.g. natural gas power plants have lower emissions than oil and coal power plants. What affects the most are which toxic substances and how large quantities of them are used, mined and processed.
For example, a uranium mine always leaks radioactive uranium into the environment and toxic heavy metals into the air, water and soil. Uranium emits life-threatening gamma, alpha and beta radiation that destroys DNA through ionization, causing mutations and e.g. cancer and deformities in unborn children. Beta and alpha particles travel very easily from the mines via air and water, and when people in the surrounding areas breathe and drink them, they often get seriously ill.When uranium is enriched during mining, large amounts of uranium oxides are brought to the surface, i.e., in practice, uranium rock (ore). This ends up in side rock, waste liquor, sediment and water in bioleaching tanks, as dust in the air, etc. The mine in many ways leaks these into the environment with the circulation of water and winds. Uranium mines always have a large toxic tailings pond and a radioactive and toxic tailings dump. At the end of operation, uranium mines are problematic waste areas that must be isolated with a thick layer of bentonite aggregate for thousands of years and fenced with barbed wire fences to prevent people and animals from entering the area. As I said, there is no closed system on Earth, so even these former mines leak radioactive uranium and heavy metals into the environment when they come into contact with e.g. rain or groundwater. Cancers and deformities in children near the former mines are common decades after the mines were closed. I saw it, for example, in India’s Jadugora and in the lands of the Navajo Indians in New Mexico. It is often the poor rural people and especially the Global South and indigenous peoples who suffer from the mines. Some imagine that uranium emissions from mines, e.g. Terrafame, would decrease if the uranium was recovered. This is a lie. In uranium recovery, enrichment and all processes in a uranium mine, large point-like sources of uranium oxide are created, from which large quantities of uranium enter the air and water. The mine always leaks, the waste broth ends up and the side rock also always dissolves uranium into the environment. Uranium recovery therefore only increases emissions and environmental harm. On the other hand, heavy metals are always released from coal mines, and oil that is toxic to life as such from oil wells, which ends up in groundwater, for example. People get cancer and other serious diseases. Oil fields also burn impure natural gas, which releases particles that cause toxins and respiratory diseases into the air. For example, Royal Dutch Shell has ruined the habitat of millions of people in its oil fields in Nigeria and caused asthma, emphysema, lung cancer and other serious diseases. A friend of mine was once on a ship in Nigeria and there was an oil field nearby, suddenly everything was covered in thick heavy smoke. When my friend sneezed on the paper, black coal came out of his nose. This ruins the living conditions of millions of people around the world every day. Often nowadays we only talk about carbon emissions, but the mining activities related to the acquisition of fossil fuels, coal mines and oil and natural gas drilling are very harmful to the environment, ruining people’s habitat and destroying ecosystems. Just like mines, factories and power plants also always leak toxins and emissions into the environment, unless it is high-tech renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, which are not systems that utilize substances like a nuclear power plant or a fossil-burning power plant. The more and the more dangerous substances are used, the worse for the environment. Coal and oil power plants not only destroy the climate but also cause deadly air pollution, the worst of which is particulate matter.
However, nuclear power plants also release dangerous beta particles and some gamma radiation into their environment. The boiler of a nuclear power plant is not a closed system from which nothing would leak out. The condensate water used to cool the nuclear power plant also contains huge amounts of heat and also radioactivity, which leads to fish death, boiling alive and deformities. Nuclear power plants also consume a lot of water as a result of evaporation, which in some places causes a large water shortage. Very often, the water in them does not come from the sea, but from a river or lake. Fusion power, which is heated for no reason, is also problematic, it leaks beta radiation into the environment, the risk of accidents is the same as in fission power plants, the problems with condensate are also the same. In addition, a hydrogen-using fusion power plant, when converting hydrogen into helium, consumes immense amounts of water, which does not return to water. The reactor of a fusion power plant fills up with alpha and beta particles over time, and is dangerous hazardous waste.