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Nuclear Energy Discussion Resources

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There's been a lot written about nuclear energy, radiation, and similar topics. Some of it is good. Most of it isn't. This thread is to post any good resources you've discovered on nuclear topics. Books, articles, random internet pages, anything useful goes here.



I'll start with a couple books I've gotten out of the library at work. Most of the stuff in the work library is fairly old, but they're all pretty decent.


The Health Hazards of Not Going Nuclear, by Petr Beckmann (1977)


Good comparison of the relative hazards of nuclear power and continued use of fossil fuels, among other things. Also features burning hatred of Ralph Nader. Very pro-nuclear. Possibly written by a temporally displaced Collimatrix.


Before It's Too Late: A Scientist's Case for Nuclear Power, by Bernard Cohen (1983)


Talks about a lot of the misinformation in the world about radiation and nuclear power, as well as the actual effects of radiation compared to public perception. Pro-nuclear, with a somewhat less blunt tone than the previous book.


Our Radiant World, by David Lillie (1986)


Discussion of radiation in the world, due to natural sources, man-made sources (such as medical X-rays), and nuclear testing. Has good factual data on things such as radon exposure, Three Mile Island radiation releases, and other stuff. More neutral tone, moderately pro-nuclear.

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My favorite book so far on the subject is Raymond L. Murray's Nuclear Energy, which is a great layman's reference because it explains everything from first principles.  If you already have a high school or college education in physics you'll see a lot of familiar ground covered, but if not you won't be left behind.  If you can handle the math, of course.


For a good history of US nuclear weapons, I recommend Chuck Hansek's book.  It has enough detail of the design of the devices to satisfy anyone who's interested but who doesn't have a security clearance (like a brief description of how Teller-Ulam devices work), and a lot of interesting anecdotes about the background of the project.  It was in this book that I learned how much of a lash-up the first nuclear weapons are.  Apparently the explosive lenses on Fat Man were fine-tuned by stuffing tissue paper in between the gaps between them to shim them into alignment.

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