- Hardcover: 420 pages
- Publisher: Bartleby Pr; No Additional Printings Listed edition (September 19, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0910155763
- ISBN-13: 978-0910155762
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 56 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Energy Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Energy Odyssey No Additional Printings Listed Edition
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Love it or hate it, the serious citizen should be aware of the often obscure and confusing intricacies of nuclear power not the weaponry and Tucker s new book makes this task easy and interesting. --Ted Rockwell, former technical director of Admiral Hyman Rickover's nuclear navy, and author of The Rickover Effect and Creating the New World: Stories and Images of the Dawn of the Atomic Age
Nuclear power can cure energy dependence, pollution, high fuel bills and...BOOM! Just kidding. William Tucker takes the boom out of the atom and chases away the cancer, the giant mutant insects and the Three Mile Island residents who claim to glow in the dark. Read Terrestrial Energy and help high-binders, hacks and eggheads take a hike. --P.J. O'Rourke, author of Peace Kills and On the Wealth of Nations: Books That Changed the World
William Tucker is one of those rare contrarians who exists on a plateau far above politics. One can take the time to absorb his thoughts now, at leisure as in the case of this book about Neo-nuclear Energy or wait a long time and try to find them in a whadud he say panic. --Tom Wolfe author of The Right Stuff and The Bonfire of the Vanities
In Terrestrial Energy, Mr. Tucker argues that nuclear power is the best option realistically available to us to reduce our national dependence on foreign oil and address the nettlesome matter of "greenhouse" gas emissions. About the other alternatives he is skeptical, believing that they will deliver too little energy at too high a cost. Mr. Tucker, a veteran journalist, has been writing about energy and the environment for some 30 years and knows whereof he speaks.--Wall Street Journal, December 2008
Powerfully written, Terrestrial Energy is a remarkably accessible book that should convert any number of skeptics with its pro-nuclear sermon. However, its strength lies not in the zeal this preacher brings, but in the dispassionate way he makes the case for nuclear in the context of all our energy options. More than just filing a brief for nuclear power, Terrestrial Energy really offers a first-rate primer on energy.--American Spectator, December 2008
From the Inside Flap
This is quite possibly the most important book about energy in a generation. For over thirty years Americans have been fed a steady diet of half-truths, misinformation, urban legends and outright fabrications about energy. The small amount of accurate information that does reach us is often obscured by scientific terminology or one-sided political posturing.When faced with a dramatic increase in energy demand, uncertain supplies and the potentially harmful effects of carbon emissions how are we to make informed choices? Veteran journalist William Tucker has relied on years of research and investigation to help us make sense of America s energy predicament without the burdens of political pressures or predetermined outcomes.It seems odd that nuclear energy has to be reintroduced to America. After all, today, thirty years after we began construction of our last new nuclear reactor, it still supplies nearly 20 percent of our electrical energy needs. And surprisingly, all this output is from plants that were once considered relics, but are now being run with an efficiency and safety record that was hard to envision a decade ago.Perhaps the misgivings have always been with us. Since dawn of the Atomic era, nuclear power has been inextricably associated with nuclear weapons--each reactor a bomb waiting to go off. The accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania and its amazing convergence of timing with the film, The China Syndrome reinforced the idea that a nuclear meltdown is a real, terrifying possibility that could kill thousands of people. The later, catastrophic disaster at Chernobyl in the Ukraine heightened these fears.And so the use of atomic energy became controversial. Yet as Tucker makes absolutely clear, nuclear is the same process that heats the center of the earth to 7,000oF, hotter than the surface of the sun.The concentration of power in the nucleus of the atom is incredible. The disintegration of a single uranium atom produces 2 million times more energy than the breaking of a carbon-hydrogen atom in coal, oil, or natural gas, all with zero carbon emissions and zero greenhouse gases.In Terrestrial Energy, Tucker is not content to merely give an argument about why nuclear is the best choice for our energy future. Instead he meticulously surveys entire the energy scene that has frustrated Americans for the past 30 years. Is there such a thing as clean coal? Can we expect that onservation will ever reduce our energy consumption? And what about the renewable energy sources (wind, solar energy, hydropower, and biofuels) and their promise of clean, plentiful power? Each has its place in America s energy mix but each of these sources also has serious problems. The limiting factor of all these technologies will not be the amount of energy radiating from the sun but the amount of land that will be required to capture and store it.And what are the real dangers of an increase in the use of nuclear power? We have learned to become fearful of radiation at any dose, when in reality, we are regularly exposed to its effects, it is naturally occurring, often benign and in some cases even beneficial. Then there is the waste that supposedly makes nuclear technology unmanageable. It is much less alarming when you consider that the reason America has a nuclear waste problem is because we fail to recycle our spent fuel rods.At the same time that world energy demand steadily increases, Americans are also being asked to be better stewards of the environment. Now is the perfect moment to renew our commitment to use the greatest scientific discovery of the 20th century as the forward-thinking solution. Terrestrial energy is without doubt, the only realistic, practical answer to our energy dilemma.
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One particular helpful feature of the book is the historical perspective that it offers. Sample insights: (A) England began to use coal during the Little Ice Age as the forests were disappearing and people were desperate to keep warm, despite the appalling air pollution that resulted. (B) The US was transitioning away from coal in the 1960s, but after the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973/74 the government took decisions that reversed the transition to low sulfur oil power plants and resulted in increased dependence on coal for the next several decades. (C) Decisions made during the Carter era have hampered the development of nuclear power ever since, notably the ban on recycling of partially used nuclear fuel.
Since Terrestrial Energy was published, there have been some important developments. (1) The fracking boom has brought down the price of natural gas, making it a more viable candidate for replacing coal power plants; and (2) The Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in 2011 has made a new wave of US nuclear plants a much tougher sell than Tucker's book anticipates.
Subject to the caveat that it is not entirely up to date, Terrestrial Energy should be a very useful reference for those who want to learn more about energy policy issues.
The title uses the term terrestrial, because nuclear energy exists naturally, deep within the earth.
It presents an argument that energy conservation cannot completely replace the reliance on gigawatt steam generating powerplants. And if you are a believer in global warming, burning coal and natural gas is not the answer. Newer technology nuclear may be a viable alternative. And the problem of radiation has been exaggerated by our government.
The book was written before the March 11th disaster in Fukashima, Japan and does not discuss all the disposal issues.
But it does discuss how successive US government administrations have ignored dealing with the disposal and fuel recycling issues. And also that France has secured over 75% electrical generating capacity from nuclear power, which
has greatly reduced their greenhouse gas emissions.
If wind and solar cannot be relied upon for more than 20% of energy output, there needs to be an alternative
that can supply the balance without producing green house gases. Also, coal fired power plants are very dirty
and release more toxins and radiation that other powerplants combined.
In summary, the book has a favorable view of nuclear power and backs up this with facts and information.