A chronicle of the few ups and many downs of the nuclear power industry in this country, with some glances abroad and a chapter on the Chernobyl disaster. According to the author, about four fifths of this update of 1979's Nuclear Power: From Physics to Politics is new material: analyses of the causes and effects of accidents at Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and elsewhere; the search for safe nuclear waste dump sites; the challenge of retrofitting or shutting down unsafe reactors, including the 1988 agreement to dismantle New York's Shoreham facility. Pringle incisively describes the stubborn way the A.E.C. and its successors promoted the use of nuclear power while concealing its dangers--""pro-safety"" is still largely equated with ""anti-nuke""--and his comparison of the nuclear and coal fuel cycles is particularly valuable. Meanwhile, his bias is clear (""Nations do not arm missiles and bombs with reprocessed coal ash""), but he presents at least part of the pro-nuclear case and mentions new plant designs that may give the industry a second wind. The book closes with a current bibliography and a very good technical glossary. Index and illustrations not seen. Fine discussion of a critical issue, but look elsewhere for detail on reactor design or alternate methods of energy production.