Why We Need Nuclear Power: The Environmental Case

Hardcover | March 14, 2014

byMichael H. Fox

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A persuasive and detailed argument for nuclear power as the solution to our energy crisis.Nuclear power may just be the answer to our search for clean, sustainable energy sources. Although wind and solar are sufficient for small uses, we need a reliable source to meet large scale energy demands and break our dependence on fossil fuels. Yet most people are wary if not afraid of nuclearpower, and given nuclear disasters such as Chernobyl and Fukushima it's not difficult to see why. In the wake of these events, fear has clouded the public's understanding of the facts. It's time to clear those misconceptions and examine the science behind nuclear power in order to determine whatrole nuclear energy should play in our future.In Why We Need Power: The Environmental Case, radiation biologist Michael H. Fox argues that nuclear power is essential to slowing down the impact of global warming. He thoroughly examines the issue from every angle, relying on thirty-five years of research spent studying the biological effects ofradiation. Fox begins with the problem, carefully laying out how our current energy uses and projections for the future will affect greenhouse gases and global warming. He evaluates each major energy source and demonstrates the limits of renewable energy sources, concluding that nuclear power is thebest solution to our environmental crisis. Fox then delves into nuclear power, looking at the effects of radiation, the potential for nuclear accidents, and the best methods to dispose of nuclear waste. By systematically analyzing each aspect of the nuclear issue, Fox clarifies which concerns have ascientific basis and which remain unsupported. His in depth exploration of the facts persuasively demonstrates that nuclear power is critical to reducing the effects of energy production on the global climate.Written in an engaging and accessible style, Why We Need Nuclear Power is an invaluable resource for both scientists and general readers interested in the facts behind nuclear energy.

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A persuasive and detailed argument for nuclear power as the solution to our energy crisis.Nuclear power may just be the answer to our search for clean, sustainable energy sources. Although wind and solar are sufficient for small uses, we need a reliable source to meet large scale energy demands and break our dependence on fossil fuels....

Michael H. Fox is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences at Colorado State University. He has been a radiation biologist for 35 years.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:March 14, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199344574

ISBN - 13:9780199344574

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart 1 Global Warming and Energy Production1. Global climate change: Real or myth?What is the debate about?The IPCC and International ConventionsThe greenhouse effectSkeptical politicians and punditsSkeptical scientistsHistorical temperature and greenhouse gas recordLast 10,000 years of climate - the HoloceneRecent changes in temperature and CO2Melting glaciers and rising seasModelsResponse to Singer and AveryPredictions of future global warming and consequencesSea level and acidificationGlobal weirding2. Where our Energy Comes FromA brief history of energyCoalOil and natural gasUraniumHow much energy do we use and where does it come from?World energy usageWhat can be done to reduce our carbon-intensive energy economy?3. The Good, Bad and Ugly of Coal and GasCoalAnatomy of a coal-fired plantCarbon dioxide emissions and other pollutantsMining and health hazardsHow much is there? 50Carbon Capture and StorageNatural GasHow much is there?Greenhouse gas emissionsFracking4. The Siren song of renewable energySolarPhotovoltaic (PV) solar powerConcentrated Solar Power (CSP)Solar heatingLimitations of solar powerWindLimitations of Wind PowerSummary5. Back to the Future: Nuclear PowerAnatomy of a reactorAdvantages of nuclear powerBaseload power 82Greenhouse gas emissionLocation and footprintCostSubsidies for nuclear and renewablesAdvanced Reactor TechnologyCan nuclear replace coal?Arguments against nuclear powerPart 2 Radiation and its Biological Effects6. The world of the atomWhat is radiation?Black body radiation - the quantumThe nuclear atomThe quantum atomThe nucleusRadioactivity: decay processesFissionSummary7. How dangerous is radiation?Interactions of Radiation with MatterElectromagnetic radiation (photon) interactionsCharged particle interactionsNeutron interactionsWhat is a dose of radiation?Effects of radiation on DNA and cellsHow does radiation cause cancer?What are the risks?Death from radiationCancer from radiationHereditary effects of radiationHow bad is plutonium?Summing up8. What comes naturally and not so naturallyNatural Background RadiationCosmic radiationPrimordial terrestrial radiationMedical exposurePart 3 Risks of Nuclear Power9. Nuclear WasteWhat is nuclear waste?The long and the short of waste storageYucca MountainWaste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)Recycling spent nuclear fuelMaking new fuel from recycled "waste"Summing up10. About those accidentsThe Scare, March 16, 1979Three Mile Island, March 28, 1979How the accident happenedConsequences of TMIChernobyl, April 26, 1986How the accident happenedThe hazardous radioisotopesHealth consequencesEnvironmental consequencesA trip to ChernobylConsequences for nuclear powerFukushima, March 11, 2011How the accident happenedHealth and environmental consequencesConsequences for nuclear powerPublic perception of risks from nuclear power11. The Quest for UraniumMining for uraniumShinkolobweShiprockMillingIn Situ RecoveryEnrichmentFuel fabricationWorld resources of uraniumMegatons to MegawattsIs there enough uranium for a nuclear renaissance?Breeder reactorsThoriumSummary12. Now What?Myth 1: Radiation is extremely dangerous and we don't understand itMyth 2: There is no solution to the nuclear waste produced by nuclear powerMyth 3: Nuclear power is unsafe and nuclear accidents have killed hundreds of thousands of peopleMyth 4: Uranium will run out too soon and mining it generates so much carbon dioxide that it loses its carbon-free advantageMyth 5: Nuclear power is so expensive it can't survive in the marketplaceAfterwordAppendix A: Global warmingEarth's energy balance:Radiative forcingThe emission scenarios of the IPCC special report on emissions scenarios (SRES)Appendix B Glossary of terms, definitions and unitsAppendix C Glossary of acronyms and abbreviationsAppendix D Selected Nobel prizesIndex