Science Book Roundup, April-May 2019

As an ongoing feature of my blog, here is my Science Book roundup for April and May of 2019. I will occasionally publish full reviews of titles that I consider particularly important. My usual caveat: For my Roundups, I don’t read all of the books in detail, but they are published by reputable publishers and … Read more

Review of A Bright Future by Goldstein and Qvist

A Bright Future: How Some Countries Have Solved Climate Change and the Rest Can Follow by Joshua S. Goldstein and Staffan V. Qvist (New York: Public Affairs, January 2019) Reviewed for The Science Shelf by Fred Bortz Despite disinformation campaigns by politically and financially well-connected groups, mainly in the United States, it is clear that … Read more

Nobel Laureates Debate the Future of Nuclear Power

At a Nobel Forum in December 2013, several past laureates discussed the future of nuclear power. Their conclusions were far from unanimous. All agreed that nuclear power is the only current technology capable of replacing fossil-fuel plants on a large enough scale to mitigate the risk of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. But … Read more

Pro-Nuclear Environmentalism

On the 46th of 64 pages of my 2012 book for middle grade readers, Meltdown! The Nuclear Disaster in Japan and Our Energy Future, I finally ask the question that the earlier chapters are designed to lead up to: “Is nuclear power worth the risk?” The remainder of the book provides a definite response, but … Read more

TEPCO admits Fukushima reactors should have been upgraded or replaced. Now what?

Since completing my recent middle grade book, Meltdown! The Nuclear Disaster in Japan and Our Energy Future, which is about the implications for our energy future of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns that followed the massive earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, I have been following developments in Japan’s nuclear industry closely. In July of … Read more

Author Q&A about Meltdown! The Nuclear Disaster in Japan and Our Energy Future

Readers of this blog might be interested in the backstory of my book for young readers Meltdown! The Nuclear Disaster in Japan and Our Energy Future. A great advocate for nonfiction who writes under the online persona Book Kvetch published this very nice Q&A, which I hope you will enjoy.

More about Hidden Biases and Fukushima

About six weeks ago, I posted a blog entry called Subtle and not so subtle biases shape assessment of Fukushima. It led to some interesting and intelligent discussion about whether nuclear energy should be part of the future worldwide energy mix. I wrote that entry as a reaction to critical reviews that described my new … Read more

Subtle and not so subtle biases shape assessment of Fukushima

As readers of this blog may have figured out, I like to discuss political issues related to science and technology. Although I am personally a bit to the left of the American center, my ideology, if I have one, is that evidence trumps ideology every time. Perhaps the best description, given my willingness to state … Read more

Should we call the Fukushima meltdowns a nuclear disaster?

A year ago, in the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima meltdowns, I prepared a proposal for a middle grade book called “Lessons from Fukushima: The Promise and Risks of Nuclear Power.” My editor at Twenty-First Century Books accepted it, and put it on the fast track, but wanted a more marketable title. The result was … Read more

Japanese Nuclear Crisis: TMI, Chernobyl, or In-between

My favorite chapter from my 1995 book Catastrophe! coverCatastrophe! Great Engineering Failure–and Success is the one where I discuss two very different nuclear reactor accidents, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. It is my favorite because of the way I ended it. That ending applies to the current situation at the reactors in Fukushima, Japan.

Read moreJapanese Nuclear Crisis: TMI, Chernobyl, or In-between