Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Grid by Phillip F. Schewe

The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World
by Phillip F. Schewe
This is one book filled with juicy tid-bits... Half a chapter is dedicated to a guided tour of Indian Point... where the author writes: "nuclear and conventional power plants have a lot in common... they both use 19th Century physics."
This is how he describes it: "Visiting a nuclear reactor is a lot like going to the castle of the evil witch in the Wizard of Oz." and Indian Point as: "the most heavily defended industrial facility in the United States."
In fact the security for Indian Point is maintained by Wackenhut, the same outfit that handles the perimiter around the not-so secret Area 51, and a majority of our prisons, where 2 million people are incarcerated, slightly more than the mere 50.000 people locked up in Japan at any one time.
Which brings up the question, why does America, the land of the free, have 2% of its population in jail, while a country like Japan, the size of California, with almost as many citizens as ours, has so few of them behind bars?
In Grid we learn that Entergy controls 30,000 megawatts of electricity. One 1000 megawatts reactor, like the two currently operating at the Indian Point facility, possesses at the heart enough fissionable material equivalent of 1,000 nuclear bombs.
On page 212: "The Indian Point containment structure can sustain the direct hit of a commercial jetliner without rupturing, one is solemnly told by plant personel, although no direct test of this proposition has been made."
Phillip Schewer goes on to write: "The financial, regulatory, and public relations obstacles for a nuclear renaissance in the United States are formidable."
Phillip has a Ph.D. in particle physics and worked at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, helped to explore the inner structure of protons. He is also a playwright and a member of the Dramatists Guild.
There are to Phillip's credit, quite a few references to Nikola Tesla in the book, though none to Tesla Motors, makers of the new Hollywood super-toy, which defends its anti-nuclear EV advocacy by offering the car with a roof top photovoltaic system to charge it.
Read more in this IEEE Spectrum magazine review.
Order the book from Amazon

Contact the author:
Phillip F. Schewe
American Institute of Physics
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 20740-3843
301-209-3092 fax: 301-209-0846

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