A Nice, Thoughtful Review of ANW

EagleNeb2ANW is, if you hadn’t guessed, my shorthand for A Newer World.  The erudite Christopher P. Winter put a nice review of the book out there on the net recently at his interesting website, To Open The Sky.

The review notes that “…things can be done about climate change because, as this book thoroughly documents, things are being done about it.”  Describing me, Winter goes on to say that “He is certainly no Pollyanna; he identifies the huge risks attendant to climate change: the restrictions on water supplies, the likelihood of stronger storms, and all the rest. But his goal here is to show us the other side of the coin, and he succeeds admirably at that.”  That was indeed my goal!

Winter has one main beef with my story:  He thinks I give nuclear power, in particular the newer technologies, short shrift.  He’s right.  In my note to him thanking him for the review, I said:

As to my take on nuclear power, I admit to a 40-year distaste for nuclear power.  I read Poisoned Powerway back when it came out and, from my perspective, things have only gotten worse.  I think our commitment to nuclear power has been an incredible waste of money – much of which has not even been spent yet.  What will be the costs in the future for disposing of waste, for instance?  Answer:  astronomical.  Amory Lovins summarizes the present predicament of our folly in citing how much money is wasted today in pursuing nuclear when the money and focus could be spent so much more effectively on renewables (pp. 174-75).  As to the new approaches, groups that I respect quite a lot like the Union of Concerned Scientists and Physicians for Social Responsibility have consistently called technologies like TWRs and LFTRs uneconomical and unsafe.  I’m sure you are familiar with their work.  If not, you can certainly refer to the UCS chapter here:  Evaluating New Nuclear Reactor Designs.  Meanwhile, projects like Olkiluoto continue years behind schedule and billions over budget.  We can do so much better.

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