Located in the Ukraine, the Chernobyl power plant was undergoing experiments in the early morning hours of April 26, 1986 when it suffered a series of explosions in one of its nuclear reactors, killing over 30 people at the plant and spread radioactive fallout across a wide swath of the Soviet Union.
Building on his classic, Nuclear Fear, Weart follows nuclear imagery from its origins in the symbolism of medieval alchemy to its appearance in film and fiction. Long before nuclear fission was discovered, fantasies of the destroyed planet, the transforming ray, and the white city of the future took root in the popular imagination.
The term ‘nuclear power’ causes anxiety in many people and there is confusion concerning the nature and extent of the associated risks. Maxwell Irvine presents a concise introduction to the development of nuclear physics leading up to the emergence of the nuclear power industry.
Mahaffey, a long-time advocate of continued nuclear research and nuclear energy, looks at each incident in turn and analyzes what happened and why, often discovering where scientists went wrong when analyzing past meltdowns.
According to their proponents, thorium-based nuclear reactors offer the chance of cheaper energy than current uranium-based reactors without the problems of nuclear proliferation and uranium scarcity. Hargraves puts a convincing case for elevating thorium reactor research to a much higher priority.