THE NEW TYRANNY: How Nuclear Power Enslaves Us by Robert Jungk

THE NEW TYRANNY: How Nuclear Power Enslaves Us

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KIRKUS REVIEW

At a time of heightened concern about nuclear facilities, German historian Robert Jungk portrays a world of constant technological and human malfunctions and sub rosa proliferation. There is no difference between nuclear power for peaceful or military purposes, Jungk maintains--""Although a bomb fueled with reactor plutonium would not have the power of enriched plutonium,"" it would still be ""enough to wipe out 100,000 people if exploded over the heart of a city."" But plutonium and uranium build up like plaque in pipes and boilers of nuclear plants, and between 1968 and 1976, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission was short 475 kilograms. (Was it pilfered or is it still coating the pipes?) We're told too that Germany--whose Atomic Commission is manned by former high officials of the Third Reich, according to a French physicist--is exporting enrichment and reprocessing facilities to Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa. And in La Hague, France, trucks carry spent reactor fuel from all over Europe to the world's largest reprocessing plant. The details are powerful, although Jungk's presentation would be stronger if he quoted more experts instead of summarizing conversations and theories--and if his allegations throughout were documented. But when he tries to explore ""societal fallout,"" he goes into visionary scenarios altogether--terrorists bombing the Capitol; governments developing authoritarian measures for dealing with citizens (drugs, etc.) as nuclear know-how spreads--which, however plausible, give his work a Dr. Strangelove cast that detracts from its picture of current hard reality.

Pub Date: June 18th, 1979
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap