Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Energy Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Energy Odyssey

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9780910155762: Terrestrial Energy: How Nuclear Energy Will Lead the Green Revolution and End America's Energy Odyssey
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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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About the Author:

William Tucker is a veteran journalist who has written about energy and the environment for the past thirty years. His work has appeared in Harper’s, The Atlantic Monthly, The American Spectator, National Review, The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, The American Interest, Life, Reader’s Digest, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and many other publications. He has won the John Hancock Award, the Loeb Award, the Mencken Award, and was nominated for a National Magazine Award. He lives in Nyack, New York.

Review:

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

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