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Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer Paperback – September 30, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Caldecott's latest antinuke book searingly debunks the claim that the impending "nuclear power renaissance," purported by some to be the only answer to global warming, is "clean and green." She covers all the bases, from the carbon emitted in the creation of nuclear power (higher than fossil fuels if the entire process from uranium mining to waste disposal is included) to the cost of nuclear plants (too high to be viable without large government subsidies) and the health risks and possibility of accidents and terrorists' access (more than we'd like to think). She also points out that, despite proponents' assurances, we still haven't found a safe place to store the waste materials for the necessary thousands of years, and that state-of-the-art nuclear plant technology is still full of unresolved problems. Caldecott's predictable alternative is also sensible: switch to wind and other benign renewables, turn down the thermostat, wear a sweater, use energy efficient lights and dry clothes on the clothesline. Detractors will complain that she is strident and incendiary, but those who believe that facts matter will want to read her frighteningly convincing argument. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Never one to mince words, renowned physician and activist Caldicott presents exhaustive evidence to refute the now-resurgent claim that nuclear power is the solution to global warming. Eschewing hyperbole and speculation, Caldicott diligently presents the facts about the grave problems attendant on nuclear power. For starters, enormous amounts of fossil fuel are burned during the nuclear-energy process, and nuclear reactors use and pollute vast amounts of water. Radioactive emissions do escape and are released from nuclear facilities, and man-made radioactive elements regularly enter the food chain and our bodies to deleterious effect. Nuclear-power plants are vulnerable to natural disasters and to terrorists; all nuclear plants generate plutonium, seeding the proliferation of nuclear weapons; and we have yet to discover a safe place or method for storing waste that remains deadly for millennia. Add to that the scandalously corrupt and hypocritical economics and politics of nuclear power. So numerous and so severe are the problems Caldicott precisely records and clearly interprets that, as it stands today, nuclear power would appear to be a costly, dangerous, even ludicrous technology. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (September 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595582134
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595582133
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Ms. Caldicott is very much opposed to nuclear power, and this book is about her objections to nuclear power.
Hill Country Bob
Her language and explanations are very clear and I found I quickly read this book from cover to cover being unable to put it down.
Aziliz
Like her other books, this one, too, is must reading, and those doing it will never forget its vital message.
Ron Andreas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

104 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Van Esch on May 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
If one believes as dogmatic truths even half of the erroneous information in this book, the sometimes religious opposition by some to nuclear power is understandable. Caldicott does a great job in reassembling in one single book about all the untruths about nuclear technology which have been spread around for decades. I think it is the main merit of this work, hence 2 stars.

The main theme is that all « official » information, be it from nuclear organisations, national agencies, international bodies like the United Nations, is propaganda which tries to minimize the dangers and averse effects of nuclear power, and tries to advocate erroneously positive images of this industry.

I only point out a few of the many pertinent erroneous statements.

CO2 production

According to Caldicott, the current fuel cycle brings about 1/5 of the CO2 exhaust of equivalent oil consumption (1/3 for gas is about 1/5 for oil) (p 6). But there's a simple argument that shows the claim wrong. 1 kg of natural uranium costs about $130,- and delivers the energy equivalent of about 10 000 kg of oil. According to Caldicott's claim, extracting this 1 kg uses (today) already 1/5 of this « oil equivalent », so 2000 kg. But that's 13 barrils of oil at each more than $100,- ! So an uranium mine uses for more than $1300,- of oil just to extract 1kg of uranium, which is then sold for 1/10 that price, namely $130,-...

Enrichment

On p 10 it is stated that uranium enrichment is a huge CO2 producing activity. In France, in Pierlatte, there is a COGEMA factory that produces enriched uranium for about 100 1GWe reactors, and uses the power of 3 reactors.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hill Country Bob on November 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ms. Caldicott is very much opposed to nuclear power, and this book is about her objections to nuclear power. She is certainly entitled to her opinion and her opposition to nuclear power.

However, as the late United States Senator and Ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan said: “Everyone is entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts”.

On the first page of the introduction is the statement: “As this book will show, no part of “efficiently, safely, and with no discharge of greenhouse gases or emission” is true.”

The issues of nuclear efficiency and safety are addressed below.

Efficiency - Cost: Addressing the efficiency issue, I will assume that cost is related to efficiency. The US Energy Information Agency has provided cost estimates for the future, for plants entering service in 2018. The cost estimates include the cost to build the plant, and to operate the facility. The following data comes from that source. In this table, only the columns on type system, plant capacity and total system levelized cost are given. Omitted for simplicity are: Levelized capital cost, Fixed O&M, Variable O&M (including fuel), and Transmission investment.

Table 1. Estimated levelized cost of new generation resources,
2018 U.S. average levelized costs (2011 $/megawatthour) for plants entering service in 2018

Dispatchable Technologies

Conventional Coal 85%, 100.1;
Advanced Coal 85% 123.0;
Advanced Coal with CC 85% 135.5;
Natural Gas:
Conventional Combined Cycle 87% 67.1:
Advanced Combined Cycle 87% 56.6;
Advanced CC with CCS 87% 93.4;
Conventional Combustion Turbine 30% 130.3;
Advanced Combustion Turbine 30% 104.6;
Advanced Nuclear 90% 108.
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67 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Nathan Wilson on December 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
Readers looking for an objective look at nuclear power will not find it here. The author's hysterical and passionate fear of radiation pervades the discussion. Caldicott does get most of the major issues on the table, but she distorts the facts badly: she repeatedly condemns the cost of nuclear power and praises solar even though solar clearly costs more than nuclear (and she ignores the large roll that anti-nuclear activists have had in driving up the cost of nuclear power through law-suits and licensing delays); she does not like government assistance for new nuclear power, but tax credits for wind power are just fine; she complains of nuclear power plants' need for cooling water (which has caused some river-side plants in France to shutdown temporarily during a recent drought) but ignores the same need in geothermal plants; she criticizes the large amount of energy it takes to build a nuclear plant even though solar voltaic plants are similar; and she says we don't have enough affordable uranium to grow the industry (only a century worth at the current usage rate) even though government reports say that a small increase in price would enormously multiply the accessible reserves; and she totally ignores the very promising thorium-cycle breeder reactor types, which like all breeders turn nuclear power into an in-exhaustible resource via their miserly fuel use and have no nuclear bomb useable materials in the waste, but unlike some plutonium breeders (which she does discuss and dismiss) could potentially meet or beat today's prices, would avoid creation of long-lived radioactive waste, and would have much lower risk of a severe accident.Read more ›
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