My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Here's a book to read...

Hurrah...a book solidy behind nuclear power...

Start with a novelist and former New Yorker magazine fiction editor living on the East End of Long Island, a sometime antinuclear activist (remember Shoreham?) and a determined organic vegetable gardener who spent her childhood in 1950s New Mexico having atom-bomb nightmares. Team her with another lifelong greenie, a man with a doctorate in organic chemistry who grew up on an Idaho ranch without electricity and whose day job, over the course of a long career, has included pioneering something called probabilistic risk assessment (the underpinnings of climate-change analysis, but that's another story). Send the pair off on a grand tour of the nuclear-power world, from dust-blown uranium mines to the depths of a pilot facility for Uncle Sam's waste deposit at Nevada's Yucca Mountain. And then wait for them to come back with the predictable diatribe against nuclear power.


Happily, you'll wait in vain. "Power to Save the World" is a picaresque, flat-out love song to the bad boy of the great American energy debate -- as good a book as we're likely to get on a subject mired in political incorrectness, general unfathomability and essentially limitless gut fears. It's also the latest plot point for one of the few unassailably positive byproducts of global-warming mania: the quiet emergence of pro-nuke greens, led by such impeccable apostates as Whole Earth founder Stewart Brand and James Lovelock, the British chemist best known for his Earth-is-a-living-organism "Gaia hypothesis."

Gwyneth Cravens and her Virgil -- retired Sandia National Labs scientist D. Richard "Rip" Anderson, arguably the world's top expert on long-term disposal of nuclear waste -- are smart enough to steer clear of that fratricidal battlefield, which features some of the worst aspects of know-nothing environmentalism. The book's subtitle -- "The Truth About Nuclear Energy" -- could come straight off some forlorn industry-group handout. That's not meant as criticism.

In fact, it's hard not to read Ms. Cravens's book as a 400-page indictment of the nuclear power industry's tragic-comic inability to tell its own story. Going all the way back to Three Mile Island (1979) and Chernobyl (1986) -- disasters that look a lot less disastrous in retrospect, as Ms. Cravens discovers -- the industry has swapped missionary zeal for a hair shirt and a defensive crouch. Assaults by the Sierra Club -- which, ironically, once upon a time campaigned for "Atoms Not Dams" -- and Greenpeace (one of whose founders, Patrick Moore, is another high-profile nuclear heretic) are only part of the problem. Worse is being the stepchild of a utility establishment happily shacked up with wretched old King Coal -- now putting 400 million more tons of coal a year up in smoke, Ms. Cravens ruefully notes, than when she innocently planted her first organic garden in the early 1980s.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home