Balaogh, Brian. Chain Reaction: Expert Debate and Public Participation in American

 

Balaogh, Brian. Chain Reaction: Expert Debate and Public Participation in American
Commercial Nuclear Power, 1945-1975.

The author of this book is a hard-nosed historian who has advanced a thesis about the role of
experts in American decision making concerning the development of nuclear power and he sticks
to that thesis through thick and thin. I was more interested in the story of how the hell nuclear
power plants were ever built. It seems so obvious today that the damn things are environmentally
and every other ways disasters. How did they even get started and who pushed them?

Be clear on this: they were not pushed by the power production people: the power industry did
not even want them. They certainly were not pushed by the coal industry, or the hydro producers.
The power people did not want the plants, then who did? The leading supporters of the field were
those who were in it. The AEC and the politicians who controlled the industry. Probably the
biggest pusher for the plants was Admiral Lewis Strauss, chairman of AEC who was the publicist
for the industry for many years: it was he who promised that power would be so cheap that they
wouldn't even meter it. It was he who sold it to the public.