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Too Hot to Touch
The Problem of High-Level Nuclear Waste

$35.99 (G)

  • Date Published: January 2013
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107030114

$ 35.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • Today, the issue of waste management is as prominent as reactor safety in the controversies surrounding nuclear power and is particularly topical in the US since the 2010 closure of the Yucca Mountain repository project. William and Rosemarie Alley provide an engaging and authoritative account of the controversies and possibilities surrounding disposal of nuclear waste in the US, with reference also to other countries around the world. The book tells the full history from the beginnings after World War II up to today, bringing to life the pioneering science, the political wrangling and media drama, and the not-in-my-backyard communities fighting to put waste elsewhere. Written in down-to-earth language, by an expert with key involvement in the Yucca Mountain project, this is a timely book for public interest groups, affected communities, policymakers, environmentalists and research scientists working in related fields and anyone interested in finding out more about this important issue.

    • Provides an enjoyable synthesis of the scientific, political and social elements of the problem of high-level nuclear waste
    • Presents an in-depth, accessible explanation of the Yucca Mountain project, enabling readers to understand its strengths and weaknesses, and providing a substantive discussion for future proposed geologic repositories
    • Includes an international perspective on the difficulties and progress other countries are experiencing compared to the US with regard to high-level waste management
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Coming from a concerned environmentalist perspective, this is an outstanding, well-researched book, containing a wealth of information about the global issue of radioactive waste, and presented in a highly readable style."
    Professor Bill Lee FREng, co-director, Centre for Nuclear Engineering, Imperial College London

    "This is a fascinating and highly readable book from authors with deep knowledge and a wealth of sharp (and often amusing) insights into the ups and downs of the US radioactive waste management programme. It will appeal especially to geologists, nuclear scientists and technologists with a taste for the lessons of history, particularly those experiencing today the difficulties of implementing solutions to a complex technical problem that is also highly charged, politically and societally."
    Professor Neil Chapman, MCM Switzerland and University of Sheffield

    "With Congress considering plans to restart the search for a burial site … Too Hot to Touch lays out some critical questions for the jostling parties to think about."
    Matthew Wald, The New York Times

    "Well-written, well-organized, even-handed, and extremely well-documented."

    "I encourage anyone remotely interested in the topic to buy a copy … this is a very affordable book. The authors have done a remarkable job of making the scientific information accessible to lay persons. I certainly learned much about national laboratories, the role of the DOE, the National Academy of Sciences, and the amazing and complex ramifications of politics. Woven in are biographies of scientists and lots of side science stories, from ocean currents to the origin of Monte Carlo simulations. Treatment is fair: you get the sense that the authors tried hard to present the facts and all sides of the story. This book would be ideal for using in a seminar class … a fascinating read."
    Pierrette Tremblay, Elements

    "… well-written, informative and substantive [with] many fun facts woven into the history … an excellent book and a nice technical review for anyone wanting to comprehend why the task of dealing with this trash has been so mired in obstacles."
    Robert Hayes, Physics World

    "… offers a well-written, sober account of this sorry, continuing chapter in the development of the US nuclear industry."
    Natural Hazards Observer

    "William and Rosemarie Alley weave a powerful and compelling narrative … The book is both enlightening and enjoyable to read … The relevance of hydrogeology to such a globally critical issue makes Too Hot to Touch a worthwhile and highly recommended read for all hydrogeologists, as well as for a much broader audience with an interest in radioactive waste disposal."
    Leonard F. Konikow, Hydrogeology Journal

    "This excellent book reviews the never-ending search for a safe, durable solution for storing or disposing of high-level nuclear waste … well documented … Highly recommended."
    R. M. Ferguson, Choice

    "… [a] masterly account by the former Chief of the Office of Groundwater of the US Geological Survey and his spouse. Bill and Rosemarie Alley's tale … documents how politics, litigation, and self-interest can interfere with a technical task of the highest importance."
    Richard Jackson, The Geological Society of America

    "… a fascinating and well-told tale spanning six decades from the immediate post-World War II era to the present day … It serves as a primer on the scientific issues and terminology that the reader requires to make sense of the issue …"
    E. M. Kwicklis, Geofluids

    "… a thorough history of nuclear waste generation and disposal … both engaging and insightful. It is enriched by numerous anecdotes and biographical sketches that are frequently amusing or disconcerting … reasonably priced and should be of interest to a broad audience."
    Alan E. Fryar, Groundwater

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2013
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107030114
    • length: 383 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.68kg
    • contains: 47 b/w illus. 2 tables 23 exercises
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    List of units
    List of abbreviations
    Part I. The Problem:
    1. The awakening
    2. Brainstorming
    3. The ocean as a dumping ground
    4. Radioactivity and atomic energy
    5. The Cold War legacy
    6. The peaceful atom and its wastes
    7. Recycling
    8. Dry cask storage
    9. Interim storage
    10. A can of worms
    11. WIPP
    Part II. The Mountain:
    12. The search for a geologic repository
    13. Nevada wins the lottery
    14. The Nevada test site
    15. Yucca mountain
    16. How long is long?
    17. Leaving almost no stone unturned
    18. Surprise
    19. Shake and bake
    20. The project gets into hot water
    Part III. No Solution in Sight:
    21. A new president, new policies
    22. Nuclear waste and our energy future
    Appendix: discussion questions

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    Too Hot to Touch

    William M. Alley, Rosemarie Alley

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  • Authors

    William M. Alley
    William and Rosemarie Alley are a husband and wife team, writing for the general public on Earth science issues confronting society. As a leading expert in the field of hydrogeology, Dr William M. Alley has won numerous awards for his work, including the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Shoemaker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Communication and the Meritorious Presidential Rank Award. Dr Alley served as Chief of the Office of Groundwater for the USGS for almost two decades and oversaw the Yucca Mountain Project from 2002 to 2010. Rosemarie Alley has a Master's degree in special education. As a literacy specialist, she has taught young adults with language delays and conducted numerous reading workshops for teachers, administrators and parents.

    Rosemarie Alley

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