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A “delightfully astute” and “entertaining” history of the mishaps and meltdowns that have marked the path of scientific progress (Kirkus Reviews, starred review). Radiation: What could go wrong? In short, plenty. From Marie Curie carrying around a vial of radium salt because she liked the pretty blue glow to the large-scale disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima, dating back to the late nineteenth century, nuclear science has had a rich history of innovative exploration and discovery, coupled with mistakes, accidents, and downright disasters. In this lively book, long-time advocate of continued nuclear research and nuclear energy James Mahaffey looks at each incident in turn and analyzes what happened and why, often discovering where scientists went wrong when analyzing past meltdowns. Every incident, while taking its toll, has led to new understanding of the mighty atom—and the fascinating frontier of science that still holds both incredible risk and great promise.
A researcher and nuclear energy advocate describes a number of nuclear mishaps, analyzing what happened and why and explains how each of these accidents have furthered the study of the atom and nuclear energy and speculates on what the future may hold.
A researcher and nuclear energy advocate describes a number of nuclear mishaps, analyzing what happened and why and explains how each of these accidents have furthered the study of the atom and nuclear energy and speculates on what the future may hold.
Was the world's first fatal nuclear accident -- the 1961 explosion of a SL-1 military test reactor in Idaho -- the result of a crime of passion? Was the disaster promptly covered up to protect the burgeoning nuclear industry? Idaho Falls documents one of America's best-kept secrets and investigates the question of conspiracy.
“A gripping, suspenseful page-turner” (Kirkus Reviews) with a “fast-paced, detailed narrative that moves like a thriller” (International Business Times), Fukushima teams two leading experts from the Union of Concerned Scientists, David Lochbaum and Edwin Lyman, with award-winning journalist Susan Q. Stranahan to give us the first definitive account of the 2011 disaster that led to the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl. Four years have passed since the day the world watched in horror as an earthquake large enough to shift the Earth’s axis by several inches sent a massive tsunami toward the Japanese coast and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, causing the reactors’ safety systems to fail and explosions to reduce concrete and steel buildings to rubble. Even as the consequences of the 2011 disaster continue to exact their terrible price on the people of Japan and on the world, Fukushima addresses the grim questions at the heart of the nuclear debate: could a similar catastrophe happen again, and—most important of all—how can such a crisis be averted?
“Persuasive and based on deep research. Atomic Awakening taught me a great deal."—Nature The American public's introduction to nuclear technology was manifested in destruction and death. With Hiroshima and the Cold War still ringing in our ears, our perception of all things nuclear is seen through the lens of weapons development. Nuclear power is full of mind-bending theories, deep secrets, and the misdirection of public consciousness, some deliberate, some accidental. The result of this fixation on bombs and fallout is that the development of a non-polluting, renewable energy source stands frozen in time. Outlining nuclear energy's discovery and applications throughout history, Mahaffey's brilliant and accessible book is essential to understanding the astounding phenomenon of nuclear power in an age where renewable energy and climate change have become the defining concerns of the twenty-first century.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a summary of the book and NOT the original book. Atomic Accidents by James Mahaffey - A 30-minute Instaread Summary Inside this Instaread Summary: • Overview of the entire book • Introduction to the important people in the book • Summary and analysis of all the chapters in the book • Key Takeaways of the book • A Reader's Perspective Preview of this summary: Introduction Water in the form of steam has always intrigued and terrified people. Steam locomotives were fascinating in their heyday. They tended to explode, crash into each other and run off the rails. Some people were so afraid of this technology, they would not ride trains. However, everyone seemed to love watching staged train crashes. This entertainment was popular from the 1890s until the 1930s. One impresario of the staged crash was William “Bill” Crush, an agent for a Texas railroad. Forty thousand people witnessed his first crash staged near Waco in 1896. Crush knew little about the mechanics of steam engines, but insisted his hundred-mile-an-hour crash would be safe. He was wrong. The resulting boiler explosion killed three and injured six. Another promoter, “Head-On” Joe Connelly, was more successful. He staged seventy-three crashes without killing anyone. Unlike Crush, he knew he had to keep the train speed down and hold spectators back. The last staged crash of this type was in 1935. The fear of steam explosions never left the public’s mind. When engineers began developing nuclear power, they believed that steam explosions were the major challenge to safety. Although other methods were investigated, boiling water was, and still is, the cheapest and most reliable way to collect energy produced at a power plant. Therefore, it was not a challenge that could be worked around when designing a nuclear power plant. Additionally, steam from a nuclear plant accident can spread radiation. In fact, during the Cold War, public fear of radiation was more intense than fear of steam locomotives ever was. Chapter 1 In November 1879, three hunters in the Ozarks found a cave filled with a weird vein of silvery-blue metal. They had to flee when they became dizzy, disoriented and short of breath. One of the hunters, Billy Henry, broke out in strange sores. He recovered and the story was forgotten. In Europe, neon lights and X-rays were discovered as scientists unraveled the mysteries of the atom. Radiology was discovered in the United States by Nikola Tesla, but he did not pursue practical applications, so Wilhelm Rontgen of Germany got the honor of introducing radiology to the world. Tesla decided to take another look and stuck his head in an X-ray beam for science. He developed blisters and other wounds. He advised everyone to avoid radiation...

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