THE WAR AGAINST THE ATOM by Samuel McCracken

THE WAR AGAINST THE ATOM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A defense of nuclear power--couched chiefly as an attack on the antinuclear forces. McCracken, a former energy researcher (now assistant to the president) at Boston U., begins by lambasting antinuclear arguments--playing the familiar numbers-and-probability games (one's risk of an auto accident far exceeds radiation hazards; the chances of a reactor meltdown are remote). He also reiterates the standard, often refuted charge that antinuclear groups have contributed to cost overruns. But these contentions are mere prelude to the critique of the antinuclear organizations--their rationale, troops, and leaders--which constitutes the bulk of the book. Far from being simple Luddites opposed to modern technology (after all, they like their music electronic and amplified), the antinuclear activists are elitists who claim the power to decide what is good for the populace at large. Not all of what McCracken has to say is baseless. Some of. those he attacks (Barry Commoner, Armory Lovins) are not above dumb arguments. He himself does not oppose solar technology in appropriate places--like Colorado. And, as an alternative to the light-water reactor that is America's legacy from Rick-over, he provides information on Canada's heavy-water reactors and England's gas-cooled reactors, as well as on promising developments in fuel reprocessing and waste disposal through vitrification. In terms of the nuclear power debate, however, the Kaku-and-Trainer volume (above) is far superior.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1982
Publisher: Basic Books