The Truth about the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth
"A thoroughly brilliant work. Extraordinary! Gar Smith cuts through the lies of the nuclear promoters to document the deadliness of atomic power."
—Karl Grossman, professor of journalism, State University of New York College at Old Westbury, and author of Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power
Foreword by Ernest Callenbach and Jerry Mander
ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award Finalist in Ecology & Environment
Nuclear power is not clean, cheap, or safe. With Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, the nuclear industry’s record of catastrophic failures now averages one major disaster every decade. After three US-designed plants exploded in Japan, many countries moved to abandon reactors for renewables. In the United States, however, powerful corporations and a compliant government still defend nuclear power—while promising billion-dollar bailouts to operators.
Each new disaster demonstrates that the nuclear industry and governments lie to “avoid panic,” to preserve the myth of “safe, clean” nuclear power, and to sustain government subsidies. Tokyo and Washington both covered up Fukushima’s radiation risks and—when confronted with damning evidence—simply raised the levels of “acceptable” risk to match the greater levels of exposure.
Nuclear Roulette dismantles the core arguments behind the nuclear-industrial complex's “Nuclear Renaissance.” While some critiques are familiar—nuclear power is too costly, too dangerous, and too unstable—others are surprising: Nuclear Roulette exposes historic links to nuclear weapons, impacts on Indigenous lands and lives, and the ways in which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission too often takes its lead from industry, rewriting rules to keep failing plants in compliance. Nuclear Roulette cites NRC records showing how corporations routinely defer maintenance and lists resulting “near-misses” in the US, which average more than one per month.
Nuclear Roulette chronicles the problems of aging reactors, uncovers the costly challenge of decommissioning, explores the industry’s greatest seismic risks—not on California’s quake-prone coast but in the Midwest and Southeast—and explains how solar flares could black out power grids, causing the world’s 400-plus reactors to self-destruct. This powerful exposé concludes with a roundup of proven and potential energy solutions that can replace nuclear technology with a “Renewable Renaissance,” combined with conservation programs that can cleanse the air, and cool the planet.