Today, there are over 400 nuclear reactors in 31 countries, including France, Brazil, India, the UK, and Canada. Proponents claim that nuclear power is the only viable alternative to fossil fuels given rising energy consumption and the looming threat of global warming, and are pushing for an even greater investment. Here, energy economist Andrew McKillop and social scientist Martin Cohen argue that the nuclear power dream being sold to us is pure fantasy. Debunking the multi-layered myth that nuclear energy is cheap, clean and safe, they demonstrate how landscapes are ravaged in search of the elusive yellow cake to fuel the reactors, and how energy companies and politicians rarely discuss the true costs of nuclear power plants – from the subsidies that build the infrastructure to the unspoken guarantee that the public will pick up the cleanup cost in the event of a meltdown, which can easily top a hundred billion dollars. In the wake of the meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima power plant, the future of nuclear energy is again uncertain; this is a timely and hard-hitting look at why its costs are simply too high for humanity.
MARTIN COHEN Social scientist and the author of eight books, including Philosophical Tales and Mind Games. He wrote an influential series of articles in the Times Higher (London) about the politics of the climate change debate. He lives in Normandy, France.
ANDREW MCKILLOP has worked for thirty years as an energy economist and consultant. He is involved in plans to redraw the energy map of Europe, and is the former Chief Policy Analyst for the European Commission’s Energy Directorate. McKillop has written numerous specialist and popular papers and articles on nuclear power, including The Nuclear Subprime Rout, and has been published in The Ecologist, New Scientist, and International Journal of Energy Research, amongst others. He has spoken at conferences around the world and currently runs an energy consultancy. McKillop lives in Vannes, France. (Palgrave MacMillan)