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Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer

2006 nonfiction book by Helen Caldicott

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Stop the madness before we inflict additional irreparable damage to the planet.

  • Feb 9, 2010
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Did you know that plans are in the works at the highest levels of the U.S. government for a so-called nuclear power "renaissance"?  Are you aware that plans have been drawn for at least two and possibly more nuclear power plants in this country?  Had you heard that the 2005 Energy bill enacted by the Congress allocated more than $13 billion for the nuclear industry?  Are you outraged by all of this??  Dr. Helen Caldicott certainly is.  Dr. Caldicott has spent most of her adult life as the outspoken leader of the antinuclear movement.  In her book "Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer" Helen Caldicott spells out in no uncertain terms why resuming construction of nuclear power plants in this country and around the world is a very bad idea.  She makes a very persuasive and compelling case for her point of view.

I think that it is fair to say that nuclear power has failed to live up to expectations. Hailed in the early 1960s as a source of clean, inexpensive and dependable energy, nuclear power plants have proven to be anything but.  From the outset, the nuclear industry in this country has largely been subsidized by taxpayers.  After the tragic accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island the American people wisely demanded that construction of new nuclear plants be stopped.  Since that time we have learned an awful lot about the consequences of generating nuclear power.  To begin with, the mining and milling of the uranium needed to fuel these plants is extremely costly and consumes huge amounts of fossil fuels in the process.  These costs will only rise in the future as we attempt to extract uranium from ever more remote locations. Secondly, more than four decades after the first plant went on-line we have yet to solve the problem of what to do with the highly toxic and radioactive nuclear waste that has been accumulating for all these years.  This is a very dangerous situation which has serious implications for the environment and for literally hundreds of generations to come.  And with no solution to this problem in sight why in the world would we even consider constructing more new plants?  And when you stop to contemplate the possibilty of terrorist attacks on these facilities you can certainly understand why Dr. Caldicott is so adament in her opposition to any new construction.

When it comes to alternatives to nuclear power Dr. Caldicott falls aquarely on the side of renewable fuels such as wind and solar and is a leading proponent of energy conservation.  She makes reference to a 2004 study by Synapse Energy Economics entitled  "A Responsible Electricity Future" which concludes that energy conservation and energy efficiency alone can reduce U.S. electricity demand by nearly 28% by the year 2025.  That sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Towards the end of the book Dr. Caldicott makes a number of practical suggestions for individuals who wish to reduce energy consumption in their homes. We have already implemented a number of her ideas in our own home.  Make no mistake about it, some of her suggestions will require a degree of sacrifice.  It is the price we must pay if we are ever to reduce our incessant appetite for energy.  "Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer" necessarily gets a bit bogged down in technical lingo from time to time.  Having said that, Dr. Caldicott makes a convincing case for her position.  I would like to read more about this controversial topic.   Recommended.
Stop the madness before we inflict additional irreparable damage to the planet. Stop the madness before we inflict additional irreparable damage to the planet. Stop the madness before we inflict additional irreparable damage to the planet. Stop the madness before we inflict additional irreparable damage to the planet.

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About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
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I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this book

Wiki

Those who believe that facts matter will want to read [Caldicott's] frighteningly convincing argument.
—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

In a world torn apart by wars over oil, politicians have increasingly begun to look for alternative energy sources—and their leading choice is nuclear energy. Among the myths that have been spread over the years about nuclear-powered electricity are that it does not cause global warming or pollution, that it is inexpensive, and that it is safe.

Helen Caldicott's look at the actual costs and environmental consequences of nuclear energy belies the incessant barrage of nuclear industry propaganda. Caldicott "reveals truths," Martin Sheen has said, "that confirm we must take positive action now if we are to make a difference." In fact, nuclear power contributes to global warming; the true cost of nuclear power is prohibitive, with taxpayers picking up most of the tab; there's simply not enough uranium in the world to sustain nuclear power over the long term; and the potential for a catastrophic accident or a terrorist attack far outweighs any benefits. Concluding chapters detail alternative sustainable energy sources that are the key to a clean, green future.


The world's leading spokesperson for the antinuclear movement, Dr. Helen Caldicott is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and the recipient of the 2003 Lannan Prize for Cultural Freedom. A bestselling author, Caldicott is the co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility and president of the Nuclear Policy ...

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Details

ISBN-10: 1595582134
ISBN-13: 978-1595582133
Author: Helen Caldicott
Genre: Oil & Energy, Business & Finance, Public Policy, Nuclear
Publisher: New Press
Date Published: September 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
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