The Angry Genie: One Man's Walk Through the Nuclear Age

Karl Z. Morgan, Author, Ken M. Peterson, Joint Author University of Oklahoma Press $19.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8061-3122-1
Morgan, a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, FDR's secret wartime effort to develop the atomic bomb, is today an outspoken critic of what he sees as the nuclear power industry's willful blindness, greed and hazardous nature. His plainspoken autobiography, written with trial lawyer Peterson, opens with an account of his Manhattan Project work, first at the University of Chicago and then at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where, as director of the health physics division for three decades, Morgan sought ways to protect workers from radiation exposure. With hindsight, Morgan laments his ""pitifully limited"" wartime awareness of the true risks of radiation, citing recent studies that suggest the nuclear industry's ""acceptable"" levels of airborne emissions and its contamination of waterways with radioactive wastes have greatly increased the incidence of cancer, cataracts and genetic mutation. He includes a chilling summary of horrifying radiation experiments conducted by the U.S. government, including downwind studies that rained thyroid cancer-inducing radiation upon ""expendable"" Native Americans. Morgan blasts the nuclear power industry as plagued by endless repairs, shutdowns, high occupational exposure to radiation, a seemingly insoluble waste disposal problem and reactors bedeviled by flawed features. He also warns that the appallingly lax security conditions of Russia's nuclear weapons facilities make them easy targets for terrorist attacks and inside jobs--and he urges the U.S. or a consortium of peacekeeping nations to buy Russia's nuclear arsenal. This personal testament is a beacon in a sea of inertia, recklessness and misinformation. 56 b&w illustrations. (June)
Reviewed on: 01/04/1999
Release date: 05/01/1999
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