Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy (Book)

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Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy is a book, published in October 2007, written by novelist and writer Gwyneth Cravens.

Craven is set to appear in a pre-book seminar hosted by The Long Now Foundation. "A science journalist and novelist, and long an activist against nuclear, Cravens had her assumptions shaken through friendship with the leading expert on nuclear risk assessment at Sandia National Laboratories, D. Richard Anderson, known as "Rip". Both are professional skeptics," promotional material for the seminar claimed. [1] An article written by Craven in 2002, which also acknowledged assistance from Anderson, stated that she was "collaborating with Charles Platt on a book about nuclear issues." [2]

Craven's nuclear claims

The promotional material for Craven's book states that "she refutes the major arguments against nuclear power one by one, making clear, for example, that a stroll through Grand Central Terminal exposes a person to more radiation than a walk of equal length through a uranium mine; that average background radiation around Chernobyl and in Hiroshima is lower than in Denver; that there are no “cancer clusters” near nuclear facilities; that terrorists could neither penetrate the security at an American nuclear plant nor make an atomic bomb from its fuel; that nuclear waste can be—and already is—safely stored; that wind and solar power, while important, can meet only a fraction of the demand for electricity; that a coal-fired plant releases more radiation than a nuclear plant and also emits deadly toxic waste that kills thousands of Americans a month; that in its fifty-year history American nuclear power has not caused a single death." [3]

"And she demonstrates how, time and again, political fearmongering and misperceptions about risk have trumped science in the dialogue about the feasibility of nuclear energy. In the end, we see how nuclear power has been successfully and economically harnessed here and around the globe to become the single largest displacer of greenhouse gases, and how its overall risks and benefits compare with those of other energy sources," it states. [4]


In a review for The Baltimore Sun, Tom Pelton wrote: [5]

Many of the facts Cravens offers can be independently confirmed. But sometimes it seems she has become too enamored of Rip, her Stetson-wearing Virgil, and has become a virtual publicist for the nuclear industry.
For example, the first time the reader hears about the cancer deaths of Native American uranium miners is in a backhanded reference in which the author tries to whitewash the problem. Instead of just talking to nuclear scientists, she should have told the stories of a few of these dead miners. ...
While Cravens advances public understanding by challenging widespread fear of nuclear energy and makes a persuasive argument in support of expanded use of nuclear power, her book appears unfairly dismissive of conservation and complementary clean energy alternatives.
Moreover, in clearing up misinformation about nuclear energy, the author shouldn't err in the opposite direction and gloss over its shortcomings.

SourceWatch resources

External links


  1. "Seminars About Long Term Thinking: Power to Save the World", Long Now Foundation, accessed September 2007.
  2. Gwyneth Cravens, "Terrorism and Nuclear Energy: Understanding the Risks", The Brookings Review, Spring 2002, Volume 20 No.2, pp. 40-44.
  3. "Power to Save the World", Random House, accessed September 2007.
  4. "Power to Save the World", Random House, accessed September 2007.
  5. Tom Pelton, "Going Nuclear: A Controversial New Book Suggests that Nuclear Energy May Be the Safest Answer to America's Power Dilemma. But There Are Dangers," The Baltimore Sun, November 11, 2007.


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