This is the heaviest broadside against the Atomic Energy Commission in years, and it ought to find a wide audience. Fuller's argument is designed to rock his readers. It may seem like only another doomsday book (a Fuller specialty) but he makes use of AEC reports to show how a government agency's forked tongue can damn itself. We now have 50 atomic reactors in the U.S. and half of them were closed down in the past year because of radiation leaks. AEC plans to have a thousand reactors pouring out energy by the year 2999, requiring 700,000 pounds of plutonium to fuel them. It takes only 1/30-millionth of an ounce of plutonium to kill you--and a particle of this new element has a hazardous life-span of 480,000 years. What's worse, plutonium is erratic under any conditions, and Fuller describes four hair-raising incidents during which runaway melt nearly brought Hiroshima to Idaho, Canada, England and Detroit. All near-disasters resulted from faulty materials and instantly multiplying human errors. Once a reactor goes amok, nobody knows what to do with it. Runaway melt, by the way, is when plutonium liquefies, and may either drop straight through the reactor bottom and head for China--or blow up. The AEC can't get its plants insured by any company on earth--no underwriter could handle the losses. Meanwhile, AEC publicity men create euphemisms for atomic holocaust (""sunshine units"", ""energy release""--those fuckers are talking about the Big Sleep!) but they can't begin to cope with evacuation problems--Greater New York City's 16 million people have four reactors nearby. With a light hand on the panic.button prose. Are you still there?
Pub Date: Oct. 13, 1975
Page Count: -
Publisher: Reader's Digest Press-dist by T.Y. Crowell