THE PROMETHEUS CRISIS by Thomas N. & Frank M. Robinson Scortia


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The Towering Inferno, in case you've forgotten, was based on two sources, one of which was Scortia and Robinson's Glass Inferno (1974). Prometheus is the biggest and costliest ($5 billion) nuclear power plant ever built, situated nicely upwind of L.A., scheduled to open long before all the bugs have been ironed out, and under fierce political pressure to-go onstream two weeks ahead of schedule (""You know that advance copies of the President's speech have already gone out to the press?""). So not everything is perfect, the Western Gas & Electric execs tell themselves, but what are all the computerized safety systems for? Obviously, to fail one by one. The President pushes the button and Prometheus links into the national power grid, loss of coolant occurs in all four 3000-megawatt reactors, and the radioactive contents of the reactor cores begin meltdown. . . . Of Prometheus as a novel, the less said the better; it clearly represents the shortest possible distance between that first gleam in the eye and those lines at the box office. As an are-you-going-to-let-the-bastards-get-away-with-it expose, it is accomplished and welcome. The sequence of horrors becomes anesthetic, but the details of political and corporate greed, incompetence, and muddle ring horribly true--from the contractor supplying the wrong parts for the fuel reclamation line to the Congressional post-mortem blaming the whole thing on a lone saboteur and affirming unshaken faith in the promise of fission power. A potential write-your-Congressman eye-opener, and about time too.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1975
Publisher: Doubleday