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以核養綠能讓核四完工?他建議:直接做核五吧

美國燃煤業 歧路徘徊

2018-02-14 14:02紐時賞析

Coal Country at the Crossroads

When Nic Zmija applied for a job at the 4 West coal mine three years ago, he was tantalized by a fat raise and a secure future. Once hired, he was told that someday even his two young sons had jobs waiting for them.

“It all sounded good,” Zmija recalled with a tight smile while sitting at his kitchen table the other day. “They said my kids would be able to retire here.”

三年前,尼克.齊米亞來到「4西煤礦場」求職,被這份工作加薪多,前途又有保障深深吸引。經錄用後,有人告訴他,就連他的兩個幼子將來都有工作在等著他們。

不久前的一天,齊米亞坐在他廚房的桌前,勉強擠出一絲笑容說:「這一切聽起來不錯。他們說我的孩子也能從這裡退休。」

美國煤礦業面臨命運的十字路口。 法新社
美國煤礦業面臨命運的十字路口。 法新社
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But right after New Year’s, management announced that the mine would have to close, leaving 370 people scrambling to find new jobs. The Zmija family must now prepare to move in search of the next coal job.

The fateful turn of events in Appalachian mining towns like Bobtown, isolated between craggy bluffs and wooded hills 70 miles south of Pittsburgh, illustrates the seemingly relentless downturn of the coal industry. While President Donald Trump has offered some regulatory relief to the industry, market forces still dictate a gloomy future — one largely shaped by the glut of cheap natural gas yielded by the drilling boom in shale fields near here and across much of the nation.

但就在新年後,管理階層宣布礦場將被迫關門,害得370名工人急著另覓新職。齊米亞一家人現在必須準備搬家,尋找另一個煤礦場的工作。

鮑伯鎮位於匹茲堡以南70哩處,孤立於崎嶇的懸崖和枝繁葉茂的山丘間。像鮑伯鎮這樣的阿帕拉契山礦城正面臨重大的命運轉折,說明煤礦業看來仍在持續走下坡。儘管總統唐納.川普放鬆了對煤礦業的部分管理規定,但市場力量強烈顯示這一行前景黯淡,主要是因這附近和全美大部分地區的頁岩油田開採興盛,造成廉價天然氣供過於求。

As aging coal-fired power plants are shut — roughly 20 of 380 have closed or are in the process of shutting since Trump took office — coal’s share of the nation’s power mix has plummeted from nearly half in 2008 to roughly a third today.

Last year, coal consumption in the United States fell by 2.4 percent, falling to its lowest level in nearly four decades. In the early weeks of 2018, national coal production has continued to decline from a year ago despite the frigid winter. A weather-related increase in exports last year yielded a modest gain in jobs, but it is not considered sustainable.

川普上台後,380座燃煤電廠約有20座已關閉或正關閉中;隨著老舊的燃煤電廠一一關閉,燃煤發電在全美電力結構的占比,也從2008年的接近50%,下降到現今的約三分之一。

去年,美國煤耗量下降了2.4%,跌至近40年來最低水平。2018年的頭幾周,儘管是嚴冬,全美煤產量仍較去年同期下降。去年與天氣相關的出口增長帶動了就業人數略增,但咸認難以持久。

The decline in demand has forced a 38 percent drop in the nation’s coal production in a little less than a decade. Now only the most efficient mines containing the highest-quality coal are able to survive.

The 4 West mine, like many that produce coal for power utilities in Appalachia, is expensive to run. Its coal seam is thin and of lower quality than those of competing mines, and its traditional form of mining requires costly methods to stabilize roofs to protect against the kind of accidents that caused the deaths of two miners at 4 West over the past three years. Government fines and management turmoil also took their toll.

需求下降迫使全美煤產量不到10年內下降了38%。現今只有煤質頂級且營運最有效率的煤礦場才能存活。

「4西煤礦」和替阿帕拉契地區電力公司生產燃煤的許多煤礦場一樣,營運成本高昂。「4西煤礦」的煤層較薄,品質也低於競爭礦場,而且礦場的傳統採礦方式需要昂貴的方法來穩住頂部,防範意外發生。過去3年,「4西煤礦」這類意外已造成2名礦工死亡。政府的罰款和管理風波也使礦場受到打擊。

文/Clifford Krauss 譯/王麗娟

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紐時賞析

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