[ RadSafe ] Power to Save the World: The Truth about Nuclear Energy

Miller, Mark L mmiller at sandia.gov
Fri Feb 8 14:37:22 CST 2008

Power to Save the World:  The Truth about Nuclear Energy, by Gwyneth
Cravens, hardcover, $27.95, Knopf, ISBN 978-0-307-26656-9.

At one time or another, we've all felt like that we're "preaching to the
choir" about the benefits of nuclear energy.  At last, here's someone
from the "congregation" who's heard the words of our song and sings them
back to us!

The author, initially a nuclear skeptic, spent nearly a decade immersing
herself in an odyssey of learning the truth about nuclear science and
taking an informed and clarifying look at the myths and fears of things
"nuclear".  She's published five novels.  Her fiction and nonfiction
works have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, The New York
Times, and The Washington Post.  I point this out because what she
writes is readable and enjoyable for a wide audience, not just to us
geeks.  She grew up in New Mexico and now lives on eastern Long Island.

She teams up with known experts in the risk assessment and nuclear
safety field, many names (and colleagues) that we recognize, to trace
the path of uranium from start to finish.  She refutes the major
arguments against nuclear power one by one, pointing out (among many
other things) that American nuclear power has not caused a single death
in its fifty-year history.  This is contrast to the nearly "not so
mystical" 50,000 death from auto accidents, 12,000 deaths from
industrial accidents, and 1,200 deaths from accidental electrocutions
that occur annually in this country.  

This book is an eloquent, convincing argument for nuclear power as a
safe energy source (for America and the world).  It needs to be part of
the essential "energy portfolio" needed for sustainable economic
viability and for reducing CO2 emissions which includes both wind power
and solar power as well as other renewables as a deterrent to global
warming.  I particularly liked her chapter on "unobtainium and
handwavium"!  While the terms were tongue-in-cheek, the facts she
explores in this chapter are not.

Read this book.  Check it out from your local library and read it
(you'll like it!).  Buy a copy for your bookshelf.  Share it with
nuclear skeptics and every science teacher that you encounter.  Perhaps
they'll read it, enjoy it, and even change some of their misconceptions
about nuclear power.  We can only hope.  The world as we know it may
depend on it.

Mark L Miller, CHP

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