Nuclear Renewal: Common Sense about Energy

Richard Rhodes, Author Viking Books $17.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-670-85207-9
Nuclear power accounts for 75% of France's electrical output. The figure is 27% in Japan, whose nuclear power plants are more efficient and safer than their U.S. counterparts, which generate approximately 20% of the nation's electricity; the Japanese estimate that nuclear power will be their cheapest energy source by 2010. To investigate what went wrong with the U.S. nuclear energy industry, Rhodes ( The Making of the Atomic Bomb ) went to Japan and France to interview energy officials, scientists and safety personnel. He concludes that U.S. manufacturers, government regulators and utilities together produced the current nuclear energy impasse through bad design, neglect of safety issues, gross mismanagement and inexperienced labor. Citing France's highly efficient fuel reprocessing program, Rhodes argues that the technology is available to eliminate the problem of storing tons of unprocessed ``spent'' fuel. Blaming the Chernobyl disaster on complacency, fatal design flaws and safety violations, he also observes that ``no commercial reactor in the United States is designed anything like'' Chernobyl. His forceful, challenging polemic is almost certain to revive national debate over the future of nuclear power. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1993
Release date: 09/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
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