In This Review

Nuclear Renewal: Common Sense about Energy
Nuclear Renewal: Common Sense about Energy
By Richard Rhodes
Viking, 1993, 127 pp

Seeking to revive public discussion of nuclear energy, this short, highly readable book reviews the history of commercial nuclear energy in the United States, emphasizing its demonstrated low risks after 30 years experience compared with both coal-fired electricity generation and many everyday activities. Rhodes also examines the successful experience with nuclear energy in Japan and France, both of which can construct and install nuclear reactors economically in less than six years, as well as the accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Waste disposal is found to be a much exaggerated problem, and the next generation of nuclear reactor, a breeder, is likely to be even safer and will generate less waste than today's pressurized water reactors. Protection against proliferation of plutonium with widespread use of breeders is touched on, but is not discussed as much as the issue warrants.