A thorough overview of the science, safety and feasibility of commercial nuclear power plants.
Ramsey (Safe Nuclear Power, 2001, etc.), a scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy, and Modarres, an engineering professor at the University of Maryland, cover vast territory in this respectable and readable introduction to nuclear power production. Reaching out to an audience encompassing laypeople as well as scientists and industry insiders, the authors take readers through the entire production process, from mining to reprocessing, before launching into the health and environmental impacts of nuclear reactions. Ramsey and Modarres then explain the safety challenges nuclear systems face and how those challenges are, and can be, met, forecasting nuclear power’s role in the energy future. The average reader will find the prose clear and concise, aiding in the comprehension of some rather dense and complex subject matter, ranging from nuclear facility design schematics to probalistic risk assessment to regulatory oversight. Though clearly a defense of nuclear power, the authors’ methodical approach conveys an air of scientific objectivity that proves quite compelling. Some of the more frightening moments in nuclear power production’s history–Three Mile Island and Chernobyl–are neither glossed over nor sensationalized. Rather, Ramsey and Modarres dissect the chain of events leading to such disasters, probing at the points where safety mechanisms or procedures broke down, always with an eye to salvaging valuable lessons from the burnt-out reactors. Because of this balanced and thorough approach all but the most intransigent opponents of nuclear power are likely to come away from this book with a newfound appreciation for the relative safety and value of commercial nuclear power facilities.
An accessible and important defense of nuclear power.