Power to Save the World
The Truth About Nuclear Energy
An eloquent, convincing argument for nuclear power as a safe energy source and an essential deterrent to global warming.
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POWER TO SAVE THE WORLD
We're burning fossil fuels at a frightening rate and a staggering cost. Worldwide, people are now facing the fact that nuclear power must be an important source in the twenty-first century. Climate scientists are requesting a major shift from coal, gas, and oil to nuclear power. But many still fear it, despite the fact that nuclear energy is cleaner to produce than fossil fuel combustion and is far more efficient in generating electricity than wind and solar power, which are expensive and intermittent sources.
In Power to Save the World Gwyneth Cravens examines both sides of the controversial debate over nuclear energy. She had many concerns about nuclear matters, and in this lively narrative, she seeks answers from a host of experts in radiation effects, nuclear medicine, reactor accidents, and risk analysis. Her Virgil in her tour through the nuclear world is Dr. D. Richard ("Rip") Anderson, an international figure in the nuclear safety, risk assessment, and environmental health. As they follow the cradle-to-grave journey of uranium--through an ore refinery, experimental facilities, nuclear plants, a spent-fuel pool, a subterranean waste repository--our most common assumptions are repeatedly challenged. Power to Save the World has sparked debate and influenced policy decisions that will affect generations to come.
In the end, we see how nuclear power has been successfully, safely, and economically harnessed around the globe to become the single largest displacer of anthropogenic carbon dioxide, which is heating up the globe and acidifying the oceans, and we learn how its overall risks and benefits compare favorably with those of other energy sources.
"Gwyneth Cravens evokes an old tradition in this very modern book: seeking understanding by going on a journey. In John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress . . . a seeker named Christian encounters the Slough of Despond, the House Beautiful, the Valley of the Shadow of Death, Vanity Fair, and Doubting Castle, among other challenges, before he finally achieves the Celestial City. Cravens encounters similarly colorful places: abandoned mines that breathe radon; laboratories where nuclear reactors were deliberately melted down; a hellish place of heat, coal dust, and shattering noise; quietly vigilant nuclear power plants; vast humming turbines; a giant crystal called WIPP; Yucca Mountain. She accumulates knowledge as she goes, guided by her own Virgil, a steadfast scientist named Dr. Rip Anderson. She achieves greater understanding of the deep things of the world, as her predecessors did, and as they also did, she shares it generously."
--Richard Rhodes, author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb.
Power to Save the World is an effective and well-researched book in favor of nuclear energy. But it is much more than that. It is a story of a multi-year quest for truth, by a woman who is a novelist, organic gardener and serious yogi. Cravens started by being proud of her anti-nuclear position. This book describes her search for an answer to the question: "Why are some people (whom I respect) in favor of nuclear energy? How can this be?" Cravens sought understanding about nuclear energy, and she sought understanding about her own thoughts and prejudices. This book is convincing because it is personal and specific: we learn alongside Cravens. An inspiring story of the power of the "examined life."
Meredith Joan Angwin, mother, grandmother, chemist, writer and former project manager (renewable and nuclear) at the Electric Power Research Institute.
Gwyneth Craven’s Power to Save the World is an indispensable introduction to nuclear energy technology. As Cravens takes us on her odyssey from convinced critic to strong supporter of nuclear energy, we learn with her as her recognition grows that nuclear energy is, in fact, one of the safest forms of energy generation, and one that the U.S. manages very well. This is an eloquent and important work.
-- Mimi Holland Limbach, Managing Partner of Potomac Communications Group and President of the Pacific Nuclear Council
“Elegantly written and bristling with fascinating facts, Power to Save the World makes a welcome contribution to public understanding of the vital role nuclear energy can play in combating global climate change.”
“The best introduction to the current realities and benefits of nuclear power.”
Gwyneth Cravens favors the expansion of nuclear power whereas I fear it, chiefly because of the danger that it will fuel the proliferation of nuclear weapons. But it will be impossible, as it was for me, for any open-minded reader, whether in favor of nuclear power or against it, not to learn a prodigious amount about the whole subject from this meticulously reported, fair-minded, elegantly written inquiry.