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Answer, The [Hardcover]

Reese Palley

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Book Description

Aug. 23 2011 1593720459 978-1593720452
Reese Palley argues that wind, solar, and hydroelectric power all of which have large CO2-emitting footprints are not the answer needed to make meaningful changes in our disastrous warming trend. Nor, for both economic and political reasons, can large nuclear power plants be built in time. The usual response to looming disaster is to throw ever-larger bulwarks into the mix, but the central theme of this book argues that we can only respond fast enough by radically reducing the scale of nuclear plants. The only sensible answer, which the author backs up with exhaustive research, is the construction and deployment of container-sized nuclear generators distributed throughout the world, producing clean energy at the local level, getting us off the worst of our fossil-fuel gluttony within a decade.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 165 pages
  • Publisher: Quantuck Lane (Aug. 23 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593720459
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593720452
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 13.3 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #869,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Blueprint for 21st Century Civilization Feb. 16 2012
By Charles M - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been watching the climate debate for ten years now. Many of the leaders of the environmental movement, Al Gore, and 350.org have been looking for a solution to climate collapse. After trying very hard to subsidize wind, solar, and geothermal power each of these half-way efforts has come up short (i.e. they do not provide affordable baseload (24/7) carbon-free power). Now it's time for "The Answer" by Reese Palley. After this intriguing study and exploration of the workings of a stable climate and a viable biosphere, it is now clear that nuclear energy is overwhelmingly *green*, *affordable*, and *reliable*, and suitable for the continents of the world.

This book provides the reader with an accessible study of the range of problems leading to climate disruption. The problems are in fact enormous, so only our most powerful and advanced technology can take them on, directly, and overcome them. If we are going to end coal burning, we need its equal -- in cost, reliablity, abundance of fuel, and so on. Ultimately, the new kind of inherently safe, mini nuclear power plants can be produced in the quality and number that will replace the coal burning infrastruture with thousands of SMRs, small modular reactors (if the human element-- strong and lasting public support arises ).

The world simply cannot withstand the prospect of burning all the world's coal reserves. The line has to be drawn somewhere -- yet the replacement must equal coal in cost and reliability. That is the crux of a problem that may start to overwhelm civilization sometime in the 21st century.

After a decade-long discussion about sustainable green energy the time for contemplation has expired, due its sheer length and the oncoming climate disruption. While we need to identify a range of solutions (ranging from ending coal use, preserving the rainforests and temperate forests, and a plant-based diet), the single best approach is the "The Answer" by Reese Palley, namely "Inherently Safe, Mini Nuclear Power Plants."

I encourage all environmental groups and citizens to read this book and strive for coordination between government, industry, and the United Nations to develop this vital energy source.

Charles M.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IFR is an inherently safe, mini nuclear reactor Sept. 8 2012
By S. Duval - Published on Amazon.com
The technology to implement the authors Answer already exists. The Integral Fast Reactor operated successfully for 30 years. It's inherent safety has been demonstrated in an actual experiment.

The reactor was operating at full power, the control rods were disabled so that they would not automatically shut down the reactor, and power was turned off. The reactor started to heat up but the design is such that as the reactor heats up, the fuel expands, the criticality of the fuel decreases as the fuel expands, and the heat generated by the reactor decreases. The reactor entered a safe state without operator intervention and without automatic intervention using control systems and valves. The physics of the design safeguards the reactor from meltdown.

The Integral in IFR refers to the inclusion of recycling facilities at the reactor site. Pyroprocessing is used to separate fission products from the heavy metals in order to recover 96% of the nuclear "waste" for reuse as fuel. The process uses electicity is collect the heavy metals (Uranium, plutonium, etc.) on the cathode for return to the reactor.

There have been several proposed small modular reactor designs for this technology. The Toshiba 4S is an example.

This following book provides an account of the history and technology associated with the IFR.

Plentiful Energy: The Story of the Integral Fast Reactor: The complex history of a simple reactor technology, with emphasis on its scientific bases for non-specialists
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Important Book Jan. 31 2012
By Jack Bellis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
. That's right, period... as in, the "most important book, period." One hundred and ninety-one pages to save the world. What sort of idiotic hyperbole is this, you ask? I asked myself the same thing each time I considered the heading, and each time the answer was the same. What's the most important book? You tell me. Is it Newton's Principia... Galileo's Starry Messenger (Sidereus Nuncius)... the Gutenberg Bible... da Vinci's Codex Leicester? None of those books confronted the end of civilization. Science, religion, and art would have proceeded apace whether their creators made them when they did or not. We'd have gotten to the same crossroads without any one of them.

But---whether you are aware of it or not---we are at a fantastic and unprecedented precipice, one that has the dangerous profile of the 'slippery slope', the seductive entrapment of slow accommodation, and a scale in time and space that is both epochal and global. This book will help you, as I suspect no other will, to "do the math."

And the math is scary stuff, but only if you have kids you care about. Despite having already become convinced, prior to reading The Answer, that nuclear power was the only safe answer to heat both liberal and conservative houses alike, I had no idea how many were the ways of my ignorance. I suspected that most alternative energies were merely stop-gaps but I did not know that they are often outright CO2 losers. I thought that forests were a straightforward CO2 winner but now, I not only accept Palley's explanation that forests are merely CO2 neutral, I wonder how I could have thought otherwise. (The logic goes like this: if forests had a net absorption of CO2 they would have long ago thrown nature terribly out of balance. Their CO2 logic reverses when vegetation dies and decomposes.) I did not know the relative persistence in the atmosphere of the various greenhouse gases. I did not know the military motivation that explains our pathetic nuclear policy, using the term 'policy' too generously. I did not know that too-big-to-fail is just as fatal in our electrical grids and containment vessels as in our banks. I did not have quite the right understanding of the energy risk to drinking water... my children and yours' most likely short term risk. And so on and so on. I did, however, know that population growth, and growth in any terms, is unsustainable (or the very opposite of sustainability) but Palley wisely leaves this challenge to his closing message. After all, he's no da Vinci, right?

And I did have some inkling of the potential of small reactors, having read of them in a recent Wired magazine article. But I had no framework in which to gauge if it was pulp-nonfiction or earth-moving fact. It remains to be seen whether and when small modular reactors (the answer... SMRs) will be perfected. But it would not seem that there is any other viable path forward without cataclysmic downsizing of Mankind.

Reese Palley didn't have to write this book. Far from it, I suspect. Rather, it appears to be a gift. Is it perfect? No. It could benefit from a few good graphs and an explanation of SMRs earlier on. And I'd like a little more info on the CO2 balance sheet on wind energy. But that's not important. What is, is that you read it and spread the message. Now.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Small is better April 17 2013
By Sandor Garai - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book helps to clear misconceptions about nuclear power. Let's put aside politics and start building these power plants in the thousands to advance the world.
3.0 out of 5 stars Favors Mini Plants Run by Big Government Aug. 28 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It was ok but I was hoping for something a little more technical on the reactors. The author spent too much time whining about AGW trying to convince me that it was a settled fact. I still don't believe it. Also seemed to favor government solutions over private, including population control. Reese admitted that probably would not happen. I think more Nuclear needs to be part of our future and that includes Mini Nuclear Plants, but not just the mini's.

Bottom line, lots of fear, little fact.

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