Chelsea Green Publishing

Nuclear Roulette

Pages:320 pages
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Hardcover: 9781603584777
Pub. Date October 25, 2012
Paperback: 9781603584340
Pub. Date October 25, 2012

Nuclear Roulette

The Truth about the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth

By Gar Smith
Foreword by Ernest Callenbach and Jerry Mander

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
October 25, 2012


Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
October 25, 2012


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.



"Journalist Smith (editor emer., Earth Island Journal) has responded to the Fukushima disaster with an avalanche of condemnation of everything nuclear with zeal and sometimes enthusiastic overkill. Nuclear power advocates will be challenged and opponents will be encouraged by the documented hazards related to nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants. Many major oversights and bad decisions have contributed to health concerns and loss of life. Smith vividly demonstrates that nuclear power plants require NASA-type engineering and well-trained operators. He discusses how the military's use of uranium-235 left a legacy of high-level nuclear waste and a proliferation of plutonium for weapons. He also addresses the problems of nuclear waste storage … . Summing Up: Recommended. With reservations."

"It will be an auspicious start to our new century if we can encourage a revitalized movement to stop all nuclear production and immediately close down every nuclear facility-military and civilian. Then we can dedicate our skills and resources to finding true solutions to the real challenges of our time: evolving a sustainable, energy-wise, and peaceful society."--from the foreword by Jerry Mander

Nuclear Roulette is an act of love and reason for Mother Earth. We’ve had five decades of poisonous decision making in the face of millennia of life. Now is the time to safeguard our generations yet to come. Gar Smith’s powerful writing tells the stories that inform our good work.”--Winona LaDuke, indigenous rights activist and author of All Our Relations and Recovering the Sacred 

Nuclear Roulette by Gar Smith is a timely and necessary book. Nuclear energy is  unaffordable by every measure—by the measure of financial costs, of safety, and of the destruction of democracy. We are witnessing this in India where the US-India nuclear agreement is imposing a ‘nuclear renaissance’ by creating a police state in Koodankulam and in Jaitapur. Nuclear Roulette should be in the hands of everyone who cares for life and freedom.”--Dr. Vandana Shiva, founder of Navdanya Research Foundation for Science Technology & Ecology

"This powerful solartopian screed leaves no doubt that the experiment with atomic energy is the most dangerous and expensive technological failure in human history. Gar Smith writes with extraordinary power and clarity on an industry whose failure threatens the future of our species—ecologically, economically, and in terms of biological survival. Nuclear Roulette is a strong signpost pointing straight to a green-powered world, where we get our energy cheaper, safer, cleaner, community-owned, and quicker. Take this book with you next time you’re out shutting a nuke or opening a wind farm."--Harvey Wasserman, author of SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030, and editor of

“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

"If ever there was a book that people need to read at this moment in the history of the world it is Nuclear Roulette. Comprehensively referenced, it is not only an encyclopedia of the nuclear age related specifically to nuclear power, it is a potent warning of the almost incomprehensible dangers that lie ahead, as well as the damage that has already contaminated portions of our beloved planet beyond repair. I highly recommend this wonderful book to all who care about our children, future generations, and the thirty million other species that cohabit this earth with us."--Dr. Helen Caldicott, pediatrician, founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and author of Nuclear Madness and Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer

Kirkus Reviews-
An impassioned case against the use of nuclear power. 
In his debut, Earth Island Journal editor emeritus Smith gathers together several arguments against nuclear power into a concise yet detailed package. He forcefully asserts that nuclear power plants are not only unsafe—with severe accidents at nuclear plants in the United States, Russia and Japan serving to ‘illustrate the ultimate insanity of the nuclear option’—but also polluting, costly and inefficient. He gives several examples of nuclear-plant and government officials downplaying potentially serious risks to the public, and, in a compelling chapter, enumerates the failings of what he calls ‘five of the worst U.S. reactors.’ He examines a host of health and safety issues at plants all over the country, including the much-criticized Indian Point plant north of New York City. Smith concludes with several recommendations for alternatives, advocating for heightened energy efficiency and renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power. The author comes at his subject from an environmentalist point of view, with an explicit desire to ‘pull the plug on this dangerous technology,’ and some readers may be skeptical of his concluding vision of a ‘sustainable compassion economy.’ Many of the arguments will also be familiar to veterans of the nuclear-power debate. Nonetheless, Smith lays out an impressively researched narrative, drawing on facts from a wide range of sources, and makes a strong case that will be hard for even nuclear-power advocates to dismiss out of hand. For casual readers, the book presents a well-written introduction to the anti-nuclear-power position. 
A penetrating argument against today's nuclear age.


  • Runner-up - ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award (Ecology & Environment)


Gar Smith

Gar Smith is editor emeritus of Earth Island Journal, a Project Censored award-winning investigative journalist, and cofounder of Environmentalists Against War. He has covered revolutions in Central America and has engaged in environmental campaigns on three continents. He lives a low-impact, solar-assisted lifestyle in Berkeley, California.


Nuclear Roulette: Countdown to Extinction


Wind Power

Wind Power

By Paul Gipe

In the wake of mass blackouts and energy crises, wind power remains a largely untapped resource of renewable energy. It is a booming worldwide industry whose technology, under the collective wing of aficionados like author Paul Gipe, is coming of age. Wind Power guides us through the emergent, sometimes daunting discourse on wind technology, giving frank explanations of how to use wind technology wisely and sound advice on how to avoid common mistakes.

Since the mid-1970s, Paul Gipe has played a part in nearly every aspect of wind energy’s development—from installing small turbines to promoting wind energy worldwide. As an American proponent of renewable energy, Gipe has earned the acclaim and respect of European energy specialists for years, but his arguments have often fallen on deaf ears at home.

Today, the topic of wind power is cropping up everywhere from the beaches of Cape Cod to the Oregon-Washington border, and one wind turbine is capable of producing enough electricity per year to run 200 average American households. Now, Paul Gipe is back to shed light on this increasingly important energy source with a revised edition of Wind Power.

Over the course of his career, Paul Gipe has been a proponent, participant, observer, and critic of the wind industry. His experience with wind has given rise to two previous books on the subject, Wind Energy Basics and Wind Power for Home and Business, which have sold over 50,000 copies. Wind Power for Home and Business has become a staple for both homeowners and professionals interested in the subject, and now, with energy prices soaring, interest in wind power is hitting an all-time high.

With chapters on output and economics, Wind Power discloses how much you can expect from each method of wind technology, both in terms of energy and financial savings. The book’s updated models, graphics, and weighty appendixes make it an invaluable reference for everyone interested in the emerging trend of wind power and renewable energy.

Executive Director of the American Wind Energy Association Randall Swisher has said, "In the last two decades, no one has done more that Paul Gipe to bring wind energy to the public’s attention."

Available in: Paperback

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Paul Gipe

Paperback $75.00

Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties

Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties

By Carol Deppe

All gardeners and farmers should be plant breeders, says author Carol Deppe. Developing new vegetable varieties doesn't require a specialized education, a lot of land, or even a lot of time. It can be done on any scale. It's enjoyable. It's deeply rewarding. You can get useful new varieties much faster than you might suppose. And you can eat your mistakes.

Authoritative and easy-to-understand, Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's and Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving is the only guide to plant breeding and seed saving for the serious home gardener and the small-scale farmer or commercial grower. Discover:

  • how to breed for a wide range of different traits (flavor, size, shape, or color; cold or heat tolerance; pest and disease resistance; and regional adaptation)
  • how to save seed and maintain varieties
  • how to conduct your own variety trials and other farm- or garden-based research
  • how to breed for performance under organic or sustainable growing methods

In this one-size-fits-all world of multinational seed companies, plant patents, and biotech monopolies, more and more gardeners and farmers are recognizing that they need to "take back their seeds." They need to save more of their own seed, grow and maintain the best traditional and regional varieties, and develop more of their own unique new varieties. Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties: The Gardener's and Farmer's Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving shows the way, and offers an exciting introduction to a whole new gardening adventure.

Available in: Paperback

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Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties

Carol Deppe

Paperback $29.95

Lean Logic

Lean Logic

By David Fleming

Lean Logic is David Fleming’s masterpiece, the product of more than thirty years’ work and a testament to the creative brilliance of one of Britain’s most important intellectuals.

A dictionary unlike any other, it leads readers through Fleming’s stimulating exploration of fields as diverse as culture, history, science, art, logic, ethics, myth, economics, and anthropology, being made up of four hundred and seventy-two engaging essay-entries covering topics such as Boredom, Community, Debt, Growth, Harmless Lunatics, Land, Lean Thinking, Nanotechnology, Play, Religion, Spirit, Trust, and Utopia.

The threads running through every entry are Fleming’s deft and original analysis of how our present market-based economy is destroying the very foundations—ecological, economic, and cultural— on which it depends, and his core focus: a compelling, grounded vision for a cohesive society that might weather the consequences. A society that provides a satisfying, culturally-rich context for lives well lived, in an economy not reliant on the impossible promise of eternal economic growth. A society worth living in. Worth fighting for. Worth contributing to.

The beauty of the dictionary format is that it allows Fleming to draw connections without detracting from his in-depth exploration of each topic. Each entry carries intriguing links to other entries, inviting the enchanted reader to break free of the imposed order of a conventional book, starting where she will and following the links in the order of her choosing. In combination with Fleming’s refreshing writing style and good-natured humor, it also creates a book perfectly suited to dipping in and out.

The decades Fleming spent honing his life's work are evident in the lightness and mastery with which Lean Logic draws on an incredible wealth of cultural and historical learning—from Whitman to Whitefield, Dickens to Daly, Kropotkin to Kafka, Keats to Kuhn, Oakeshott to Ostrom, Jung to Jensen, Machiavelli to Mumford, Mauss to Mandelbrot, Leopold to Lakatos, Polanyi to Putnam, Nietzsche to Næss, Keynes to Kumar, Scruton to Shiva, Thoreau to Toynbee, Rabelais to Rogers, Shakespeare to Schumacher, Locke to Lovelock, Homer to Homer-Dixon—in demonstrating that many of the principles it commends have a track-record of success long pre-dating our current society.

Fleming acknowledges, with honesty, the challenges ahead, but rather than inducing despair, Lean Logic is rare in its ability to inspire optimism in the creativity and intelligence of humans to nurse our ecology back to health; to rediscover the importance of place and play, of reciprocity and resilience, and of community and culture.

Lean Logic is a comfort in disorientating times. A book to keep at your side. A dictionary of empowerment.

Available in: Hardcover

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Lean Logic

Shaun Chamberlin, Jonathon Porritt, David Fleming

Hardcover $49.95

Disaster on the Horizon

Disaster on the Horizon

By Bob Cavnar

Disaster on the Horizon is a behind-the-scenes investigative look at the worst oil well accident in US history, which led to the current environmental and economic catastrophe on the Gulf Coast. Cavnar uses his 30 years in the business to take readers inside the disaster, exposing the decisions leading up to the blowout and the immediate aftermath. It includes personal accounts of the survivors, assembled from testimony during various investigations, as well as personal interviews with survivors, witnesses, and family. It also provides a layman's look at the industry, its technology, people, and risks. It deconstructs events and decisions made by BP, Transocean, and the US Government before and after the disaster, and the effects of those decisions, both good and bad.

Cavnar explains what happened in the Gulf, explores how we arrived at deep water drilling in the first place and then charts a course for how to avoid these disasters in the future.

Available in: Paperback

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Disaster on the Horizon

Bob Cavnar

Paperback $17.95