TOWARD A RATIONAL POWER POLICY: Energy, Politics and Pollution by Neil & Robert M. Hallman Fabricant

TOWARD A RATIONAL POWER POLICY: Energy, Politics and Pollution

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Prompted by New York's recurrent brown-outs and controversies over in-city siting of fossil-fueled and/or nuclear power plants, this study was undertaken by the New York City Environmental Protection Association. Scoring the ""essentially unregulated"" practices of utility companies, the authors set forth a detailed and thoroughly documented indictment of land grab policies, 'grossly misleading' advertising, concentration of energy-production into ever-larger units, and the premature drift to nuclear plants (20 now exist, 90 are scheduled for operation within 10 years, 900 are projected by 2000 A.D.). Charging a credibility gap re AEC safety assurances, they present a good deal of damning data on the risks of reactor accidents, storage, transport and disposal of radioactive wastes, and the ambiguity surrounding radiation tolerance levels. (Some AEC officials are urging a ""revision downward by a factor of tenfold."") Muckraking statistics abound: in New York City present sulfur oxide levels are three times federally sanctioned norms. With power consumption projected to increase by 450% between 1965-1990, the situation is certain to worsen. Recommendations include stringent controls on the 'inflated demand' for electricity created by profit-oriented utilities, among them a surcharge on peak demand; non-promotional rate structures; a ban on advertising -- e.g. ""the total electric home""; and legally enforced industrial money allotments for research and development. More broadly, the authors see an urgent need for new regulating agencies which, unlike the FPC and AEC, do not display ""clear conflict of interest between (their) role as regulator and promoter of nuclear power."" Comprehensive data on medical and environmental hazards buttress the attack which, despite its repetitiveness and lab-report style, should provide much useful ammunition to conservationists and gasping, choking citizens at large.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1971
Publisher: Braziller