Nuclear power’s history – the history of reactors producing electricity – has held me in thrall for over a decade. Besotted, I’m writing a book on the subject. In addition I take delight in announcing this blog as my means of presenting some of that book’s offcuts: unneeded engrossing snippets from my data or words, peripheral aspects shallowly treated, and beguiling alleyways not pursued. Twice a week I’ll post a trinket.
Nuclear’s hold on me shouldn’t require justification but in case you’re not riveted by the topic, let me pitch it to you.
So . . . who amongst you can resist the tale of one of humankind’s major energy sources, supplying a ninth of global electricity? A ninth is a meaty fraction but at its peak nuclear supplied a full sixth of our electricity – how and when did it decline? Born as twin to the atomic bomb’s threat of Armageddon, can there be any more engrossing narrative than the attempt of nuclear energy to walk a separate, peaceful road? The technology at its heart is thrilling, standing at the very edge of our understanding of the universe. The first two thirds of our story coincides with, and was enmeshed within, the Cold War – surely studying it enriches our understanding of geopolitics? The saga of nuclear power encapsulates two diametrically opposed tales – technological glory and the growth of environmentalism – and I’m engrossed by what that vicious battle portends for the future. More recently, and potently, isn’t climate change illuminated by the history of one of the lowest-carbon options?
Yes, I admit to some hyperbole but I’m entitled to, for one of this blog’s purposes is to keep me pepped up and intellectually alert for writing the book. If my musings pique your interest, so much the better.
Be warned that I don’t intend to prefigure the main work. As best I can, I’ll preserve neutrality and shy away from the major issues forming the province of my tome. I guess this necessarily means many posts will register in a minor key. I’ll be content with minor but meaningful.