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splitting atoms to produce energy (hence, the term most widely used then:atomic power) was essentially unknown to virtually all scientists and nonscientistsalike at the time. But that concept had its roots in scientific principlesgoing back well over a hundred years. And efforts at finding a way ofunleashing the enormous amounts of energy stored within the atomic nucleushad been going on, in one form or another, for nearly a decade.The existence of nuclear energy (as it is more properly called) had beenintuitively obvious to scientists since the discovery in the early 20th centuryof the proton by English physicist Lord Ernest Rutherford(1871–1937). Rutherford demonstrated that the central core of nearly allatoms—the nucleus—contains two or more protons, often large numbers ofprotons. Protons all carry the same charge, a single unit of positive electricity.Scientists have also known that particles with like charges tend to repeleach other strongly. Even more important, the closer such particles are toeach other, the stronger the force of repulsion. So, how is it possible thattwo or more (often, many more) like-charged particles can huddle togetherwithin an atomic nucleus?

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  • LIBRARY IN A BOOK

    NUCLEAR POWERDavid E. Newton

  • NUCLEAR POWER

    Copyright 2006 by David E. NewtonMap and graphs copyright 2006 by Infobase Publishing

    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any formor by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or byany information storage or retrieval systems, without permission in writing from thepublisher. For information contact:

    Facts On File, Inc.An imprint of Infobase Publishing132 West 31st StreetNew York NY 10001

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataNewton, David E.

    Nuclear power / David E. Newton.p. cm.(Library in a book)

    Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 0-8160-5655-2

    1. Nuclear engineering. I Title. II. Series.TK9146.N453 2005333.7924dc22 2005006437

    Facts On File books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk quan-tities for businesses, associations, institutions, or sales promotions. Please call ourSpecial Sales Department in New York at (212) 967-8800 or (800) 322-8755.

    You can nd Facts On File on the World Wide Web at http://www.factsonle.com

    Text design by Ron MonteleoneMap and graphs by Sholto Ainslie

    Printed in the United States of America

    MP Hermitage 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    This book is printed on acid-free paper.

    For Eileen and AshleyMore than just family . . . Our friends!

  • PART IOVERVIEW OF THE TOPIC

    Chapter 1An Introduction to Nuclear Power and Issues Over

    Its Use in the United States 3

    Chapter 2The Law and Nuclear Power 62

    Chapter 3Chronology 85

    Chapter 4Biographical Listing 106

    Chapter 5Glossary 124

    PART IIGUIDE TO FURTHER RESEARCH

    Chapter 6How to Research Nuclear Power Issues 133

    Chapter 7Annotated Bibliography 146

    Chapter 8Organizations and Agencies 212

    CONTENTS

  • PART IIIAPPENDICES

    Appendix AAtomic Energy Act of 1946 (Public Law 79-585) 235

    Appendix BAtomic Energy Act of 1954 (Public Law 83-703) 242

    Appendix CNuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (Public Law 97-425) 252

    Appendix DU.S. Supreme Court: Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. v. NRDC,

    462 U.S. 87 (1983) 258

    Appendix EU.S. Supreme Court: Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee Corp.,

    464 U.S. 238 (1984) 264

    Appendix FStatistics and Data on Nuclear Power 271

    Index 284

  • PART I

    OVERVIEW OF THE TOPIC

  • AN INTRODUCTIONTO NUCLEAR POWER AND

    ISSUES OVER ITS USE IN THEUNITED STATES

    On August 6, 1945, a B-29 bomber from the U.S. Air Force, the Enola Gay,dropped a single bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. That act was adesperate effort by the U.S. military to bring World War IIwhich hadstretched on for nearly four yearsto a quick and decisive conclusion. Thebomb carried by the Enola Gay was a new kind of explosive device, a nuclear(or atomic) weapon. It had been given the nickname Little Boy and measuredabout three meters (10 feet) in length and 0.7 meters (two feet) in diameter.Little Boy was the most destructive weapon ever produced by humans, witha power equivalent to that of about 15,000 tons of TNT, the most powerfulconventional explosive known. For this reason, Little Boy was classied as a15-kiloton (or 15-kt) bomb.

    The Enola Gays mission was a military success and a civilian and human-itarian disaster. Ofcial estimates placed the number of individuals killed at118,661, with another 79,130 persons wounded and 3,677 missing. An areaof about 13 square kilometers (ve square miles) was essentially reduced torubble, with the remnants of only a single building, the Hiroshima Prefec-tural Industrial Promotion Hall, left standing at Ground Zero (the point be-neath which the bomb was detonated). The effects of Little Boy and asimilar bomb (Fat Man) dropped on Nagasaki three days later convinced theJapanese government of the futility of continuing its war efforts, and it suedfor peace a day later. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is often citedas the beginning of the Nuclear Age. But was it really?

    Certainly, the events of August 6 and 9, 1945, brought nuclear power tothe attention of the world in a sudden and dramatic way. The concept of

    3

    CHAPTER 1

  • splitting atoms to produce energy (hence, the term most widely used then:atomic power) was essentially unknown to virtually all scientists and nonsci-entists alike at the time. But that concept had its roots in scientic princi-ples going back well over a hundred years. And efforts at nding a way ofunleashing the enormous amounts of energy stored within the atomic nu-cleus had been going on, in one form or another, for nearly a decade.

    The existence of nuclear energy (as it is more properly called) had beenintuitively obvious to scientists since the discovery in the early 20th cen-tury of the proton by English physicist Lord Ernest Rutherford(18711937). Rutherford demonstrated that the central core of nearly allatomsthe nucleuscontains two or more protons, often large numbers ofprotons. Protons all carry the same charge, a single unit of positive electric-ity. Scientists have also known that particles with like charges tend to repeleach other strongly. Even more important, the closer such particles are toeach other, the stronger the force of repulsion. So, how is it possible thattwo or more (often, many more) like-charged particles can huddle togetherwithin an atomic nucleus?

    The only answer one can imagine is that some very strong force (orforces) must exist within the atomic nucleus that holds these like-chargedprotons together. After all, most atomic nuclei found in nature are stable.That is, they do not y apart, as one might expect from a closely packed as-semblage of like-charged particles. So, even without the vaguest knowledgeas to what these nuclear forces might be, scientists were fairly certain theymust exist.

    THE SCIENCE BEHIND NUCLEAR ENERGY

    The real beginning of the age of nuclear power can, perhaps, be traced tothe discovery of the atom by English chemist and physicist John Dalton(17661844) in 1803. Dalton did not so much discover the atom, in termsof nding or seeing it, as he did explain why particles such as atoms hadto exist and why such particles could explain so many chemical phenomenathen known. The atoms that Dalton envisioned were very small, solid, indi-visible particles, somewhat like extremely tiny marbles or ball bearings.

    For nearly a century, Daltons image of atoms served scientists well. Buttoward the end of the 19th century, new information became availableshowing that Daltons view of atoms was overly simplied and incomplete.The key discovery during this period was that of English physicist J. J.Thomson (18561940). In 1897, Thomson found that atoms are not solidand indivisible but instead consist of at least two parts. One part is a nega-

    N u c l e a r P o w e r

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  • tively charged particle discovered by Thomson, which was later given thename electron. The second part of the atom was a still-unidentied, amor-phous mass that was later given the name nucleus.

    Thomsons discovery of the electron began a process of dissecting theatom, a process that might be compared to the dissection of an apple. Thatprocess eventually led to the discovery of two particles that make up anatomic nucleus. One of the two particles, the proton, was found by Ruther-ford between 1911 and 1914. A proton is a hydrogen atom without its elec-tron. Then, in 1932, the second nuclear particle, the neutron, wasdiscovered by English physicist James Chadwick (18911974). As a result ofthis long line of research, scientists now have a very good understanding notonly of the particles that make up the atom but also of the forces that holdthose particles together within an atom.

    TRANSMUTING ELEMENTSThe process of collecting this information has not been an easy one. Obvi-ously, one cannot cut open an atom or an atomic nucleus, no matter howsmall a knife is available, the way one cuts open an apple. One widely pop-ular method for studying the structure of an atom and nucleus has long beento bombard them with beams of energy and/or particles. By the early 20thcentury, scientists had a number of such tools available to them: X-rays, dis-covered by French physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel (18521908) in 1896;gamma rays, discovered by French physicist Paul Villard (18601934) in1900; and alpha and beta rays, both discovered by Rutherford in 1897.

    In this form of analysis, a beam of energy is made to collide with an atom(actually, a very large group of identical atoms). The products of that colli-sion are then analyzed to see what atoms and other particles are present.The rst experiment of this kind was designed and carried out, once again,by Lord Rutherford. In this experiment, nitrogen gas was exposed to a beamof alpha particles (which constitute an alpha ray). When Rutherford ana-lyzed the products of this reaction, he found they consisted of oxygen andhydrogen atoms.

    This experiment was important for two reasons. First, Rutherford con-cluded that the hydrogen gas formed in the reaction must have come fromprotons expelled from the nucleus of nitrogen atoms. This result convincedhim (and other scientists) that protons are one of the constituent particlesthat make up atomic nuclei. Second, the experiment showed that atoms canbe transmuted, that is, changed from one form into another form. In thiscase, nitrogen was transmuted, or changed, into oxygen.

    By the early 1930s, scientists throughout the world were studying everypossible permutation of this kind of experiment, bombarding virtually every

    A n I n t r o d u c t i o n t o N u c l e a r P o w e r

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  • kind of atom with every form of energy available. In one such experiment,Chadw