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A chilling account of seventy years of nuclear catastrophes, by the author of the definitive (Economist) Cold War history, Nuclear Folly.
Nuclear energy was embraced across the globe at the height of the nuclear industry in the 1960s and 1970s; today, there are 440 nuclear reactors operating throughout the world, with nuclear power providing ten percent of world electricity. Yet as the world seeks to reduce carbon emissions to combat climate change, the question arises: Just how safe is nuclear energy?
Atoms and Ashes recounts the dramatic history of nuclear accidents that have dogged the industry in its military and civil incarnations since the 1950s. Through the stories of six terrifying major incidents―Bikini Atoll, Kyshtym, Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima―Cold War expert Serhii Plokhy explores the risks of nuclear power, both for military and peaceful purposes, while offering a vivid account of how individuals and governments make decisions under extraordinary circumstances. Atoms and Ashes provides a crucial perspective on the most dangerous nuclear disasters of the past, in order to safeguard our future.