Nuclear energy and the environment

Nuclear energy and the environment

Chien Wai and Bruce Mincher (eds)

New York, US: OUP USA 

2011 | 432pp | ?105 (HB) 

ISBN 9780841225855 

Reviewed by Matthew Gilbert 


Since it was first published in 1974 the American Chemical Society symposium series has built a reputation for producing topical, high quality volumes. This latest addition to the series is no different. 

Comprising of papers presented at the symposium of the same name held at the 238th ACS National Meeting in August 2009, Nuclear energy and the environment concentrates on the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, dealing with reprocessing and waste management. The papers are divided into three sections, covering the topics of separation chemistry, radiation chemistry and repository chemistry. 

Bruce Mincher’s introduction clearly and ably sets the scene and puts the work reported within this edition in the global context of the nuclear resurgence. Although, given the seemingly constant changes in nuclear policy, some comments, such as ’no other European country [than France] has yet announced an expansion in nuclear power plant construction’ are now already out of date. 

Three review articles provide a more detailed introduction to each section, acquainting the reader with current practices and the challenges faced, although the final section on repository chemistry deals almost exclusively with the US programme and as such, whilst still of great interest, is arguably the least successful of the three. 

The papers themselves are all well written and the editors and their team of reviewers should be commended for maintaining a high level of clarity throughout. This is a proceedings and therefore much of the discussion is highly technical. However, by keeping the focus on the chemistry, together with the introductory review of each section, it is by no means limited to those in the nuclear field. 

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