Nuclear energy has sometimes been called “the double-edged sword of science.” The phrase reflects the fact that nuclear energy can be used for both useful and constructive purposes and for deadly and destructive ends. The world was first introduced to nuclear energy when it was used to produce the most destructive and terrible weapons the human race has ever seenthe atomic and hydrogen bombs tested and used in the 1940s and early 1950s. Almost certainly, the greatest potential benefit of nuclear energy is the availability of an almost endless and environmentally attractive source of power. But even as late as 2000, nuclear power accounted for only about 11 percent of all the energy produced in the United States, a fraction substantially less than its earliest proponents had hoped for.
Nuclear Power outlines the history of nuclear power production in the United States and the issues that arise from the use of nuclear power in the production of energy. With solid, valuable information, it traces this issue from the past to the present. Appendixes include maps, graphs, charts, and diagrams, as well as excerpts from influential documents. A fully loaded one-volume reference, this book is ideal for anyone interested in nuclear power, including policymakers, administrators, attorneys, and advocacy groups, as well as teachers, students, parents, and the general public.