Book release notes, errata, corrections

The book will be a living document at least for a while. Corrections and suggestions for improvements, complaints about unclear  or unpersuasive passages, additional material, photos, or citations should be posted to this thread. As the book is modified, release notes and acknowledgements will be posted here.

35 thoughts on “Book release notes, errata, corrections”

  1. On page 71 in the print version, the figure for LNT cancers should be 153, not 312.
    The 312 figure was based on the doses as estimated by Chen.
    The 153 is based on the doses as estimated by Hwang.
    Theis has been corrected in the website version.

  2. On 2020/10/05, a new version of the book was uploaded.
    This version has better graphs and a host of other changes.
    If you want to be sure, you have the most recent version,
    check the page after the title page, and look for Version
    under the ISBN number. It should be /nfs/TC/gordian/vN.

  3. Put Ted Rockwell’s chapter on LNT on the downloads page. This piece is not only must read for its cogent arguments against LNT, but also to the indifference/hostility that the nuclear complex showed towards his efforts.
    Rockwell was almost alone and he understood the reason why. By the 1980’s
    the US nuclear complex was more interested in grabbing taxpayer money to solve
    manufactured problems than in expanding nuclear power.

  4. Version vO uploaded 2020-10-19. Fixed some typos. Thanks Matt Wilkinson.
    Rewrote Preamble to more forthrightly put the blame for the Flop where I think it belongs.

  5. Uploaded A. C. Rodenburg’s Nuclear FAQ to our Downloads page
    with A. C.’s kind permission. The FAQ is an informative introduction to
    nuclear power with a light touch. Thanks A.C.

  6. I think you should end chapter 1 with a copy of Fig A.1: Resources per Terrawatt-hour, and a paragraph explaining that nuclear power has the lowest resource requirement of any sustainable energy source and and lowest impact on the environment of any energy source. That will smooth the transition from chapter 1 (about why we need more power) to the rest of the book (how to fix nuclear power).

    Also, maybe update the version of the same graph in the renewables chapter to include fossil gas (which requires much less material than any other), for completeness, but also it helps to explain why gas works so well with renewables.

  7. Posted ” What should we do with barely with barely used nuclear fuel?”
    This note makes the argument for indefinite dry cask storage
    to allow our descendants to decide when and how much of this
    potentially valuable material to extract and reuse.

  8. Text in this area co-mingles consumption and capacity units.
    Figure 1.3 and Page 22 “For example, one company, Swedish iron ore giant LKAB,
    estimates they will need 6.3 gigawatts (GW) to move their mining and steel making away from
    fossil fuel and coke.[93] 6.3 GW is one-third the current Swedish very high per capita electricity
    Does the steel plant require 6.3 GW of generating capacity (1.5 Palo Verdes) to replace burning coke? Is their annual energy budget 6.3 GWh? I can’t tell.

  9. 6.3 GW’s of power is correct. Guessing something like 50 TWh/year.
    Technical details on the Swedish HYBRIT process are scant.
    But the number appears to include both
    the power required to convert the iron ore into iron sponge
    and direct reduction of the iron sponge to steel.
    HYBRIT is a partnership between LKAB, the mining giant,
    and SSAB, the steel making giant. The book is a little misleading here.

  10. Added a section on the Rockefeller Foundation’s role in funding
    research into genetic damage from radiation. Although it turned
    out the fears were unfounded, this was the real genesis of LNT.
    It’s also a fascinating story about how a combination of high minded concern
    about nuclear weapons and lust for grant money led to
    scientific misconduct and outright deception.

  11. Amplified Rockefeller Foundation section with some recently found material.
    Added section on clever Columbia University experiments which
    contradict the single hit theory. A bunch of more minor changes.

  12. I just finished the book. It’s important and revolutionary—and will have very little impact. The problem is the writing. You’re an engineer, and write like one. That’s great for an academic paper, but not for a popular work meant to move opinion and public policy. You need to hire a professional writer to rewrite it from front to back—keeping the information and message, of course, but presenting it in a much more palatable way. This isn’t a matter of little fixes (like defining the specialized terms that keep popping up, like “casualty” and “dispatchable”). This needs a thorough going over, which is likely to take a reasonable sum of money.

    But I hope you do so, because the world needs this book.

    1. Do NOT rewrite this book. There are plenty of videos to move popular opinion, and even opinions of engineers like myself. A few months ago, I stumbled upon a video ten-years old of Kirk Sorensen explaining molten salt reactors. That knocked me loose from my anti-nuclear, but mostly inattentive attitude, and started a quest to learn more. After watching more videos and even digging into some physics, I saw the need for a comprehensive, well-sourced summary of what I had learned. This book is it. Anyone serious about the renaissance of nuclear power should read it. I still see a need for something shorter, peer-reviewed, and more accessible to the public (and perhaps some reporters who are ignoring nuclear while sounding the alarm on climate change). I’m thinking of a Wikipedia-style article, but without the mob-editing hassles. — David MacQuigg, Associate Editor, Citizendium

      1. Thanks, David. Jim’s complaint was wounding . I try hard to not write
        like an engineer. But he’s right. The book is very uneven. Some parts
        are easily accessible. Other parts get deep into the weeds. I played
        with dumping some of the chapters, but then the full argument
        wasn’t there. Perhaps a MacKay style, pushing the more technical
        stuff into appendices, would have worked better. Anyway I encourage
        anybody who wants to extract and rearrange as they see fit.

        1. I can see both Jim and Mac’s points. Singing to the choir, the book is great. It summarises much of what we all have already read, and adds more data in new forms.

          But in my opinion it fails as a popular book, for being too technical and a bit highbrow for a normal reader. For instance, the word ‘casualty’ is used not to mean ‘someone harmed by war or accident’ but ‘incident’; this is not intuitive. Or, how many people know the meaning of the word ‘dirigisme’? I didn’t before reading, and I have a fair vocabulary.

          The problem IMO for nuclear is not technical. The case to me seems totally overwhelming. The problem is marketing. To state the case so simply and so interestingly that a normal person couldn’t fail to understand it, and would in fact read it. And then to make politicians take notice.

          I haven’t come across such a book yet; Dr Devanney’s book would be input to it. Incidentally, well done sir.

          And in answer to the obvious retort, No; I’m neither a good enough writer nor knowledgeable enough.

          1. I hate the euphemism “accident” which implies an event
            that’s nobody’s fault. But changing “casualty” to “accident”
            and “dirigisme” to “direction” won’t solve the problem.

            How do you make the argument that just about everything
            you’ve been told about nuclear power, including by the
            nuclear power establishment, is wrong, without getting
            into the weeds? I don’t know, but it’s worth a try.


  13. On page 224, last paragraph: “According to the M.I.T. paper, solar is cheaper than wind. So solar dominates their `zero’ carbon solutions, especially in their low cost scenarios. However, despite all the favorable assumptions, to get to `zero’ carbon in these scenarios for the New England grid requires about 5 times as much solar capacity as the peak load. They also need about 1 times as much wind
    capacity as the peak load.”

    I am thinking that the ‘1 times as much wind’ is supposed to be ’10’, or ’11’ (??) as the wording suggests a number higher than 1 was intended. Kind regards, Chris Davey

  14. Chris,
    The number as written is what MIT came up with.
    They needed 5x solar plus 1x wind, so overall
    W/S nameplate capacity was 6X the peak demand.
    Awkward use of the plural on my part.

  15. Peter,
    Good question. I have not been able to track down the source
    of this figure. But I did spot check some of the numbers
    with other sources, and got reasonably good agreement.


  16. Uploaded Version w9., July 12.
    Main change is a new section (5.5) applying SNT to Fukushima.
    Also extensive changes to Section 5.6. More evidence
    that the NCRP/ICRP massive changes in dose limits in the 1950’s
    were ALARA based targets, rather than harm based levels, Section 7.8.

    1. Wisnij,

      No plans for Kindle or the like. Everything floating looked too difficult too implement, or at least more trouble than it was worth.

      The book is a work in progress. Reluctant to distribute the source at least
      until thing stabilize. Send me an email djw1 at, with what yr thinking.

  17. Version wB posted on 2021-09-04. Major changes to Chapters 4 and 5.
    New analyses of the Lost Life Expectancy due to radiation
    at Chernobyl and Fukushima. Changed the SNT “repair period”
    from a month to a week, bringing the legal repair period more in line
    with the actual. More emphasis on dose rate and less on LNT.
    In particular, see the new Table 4.17. Recommendation that
    we go back to the pre-1950 NCRP/ICRP tolerance dose
    of 1 mSv/day as a regulatory harm limit. Many smaller changes.

  18. page 13, you write; “A sievert is a large amount of joules per kg”. A Sievert is one joule per kg by definition. One hundred rads equals on sievert. A rad is 100 ergs per gram by definition.

    1. Saints preserve us from the overly literal doryphores.
      And the last thing we need to do is further confuse
      the public with non-standard units.

      But OK will reword.

  19. Version wD posted 2021-10-02. Important fix to
    SNT calc of Lost Life Expectancy at Fukushima.

    New sections on INWORKS study, buffer zones,
    and the lousy contractor argument.

    More emphasis on daily dose rates, less on annual/monthly.

  20. Version wE posted 2021-02-05.
    Corrected another mistake in the SNT
    calc of Lost Life Expectancy. Wrong
    locale factors for rural outdoors group
    underestimated their LLE.

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