Australian Left Review

Abstract

Ian Breach, Windscale Fallout: A Primer for the Age of Nuclear Controversy (Penguin, 1978)

Robert Jungk (trans. E. Mosbacher), The Nuclear State (John Calder, London, 1979).

“Nuclear energy”, a witness at the Windscale Inquiry argued, “is a conservative technology. It represents an attempt to avoid basic changes in the industrial system.” Perhaps, then, it is not surprising that after 100 days of listening to evidence about the proposal of British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. to build a large nuclear reprocessing plant at Windscale in the UK, Justice Parker, who chaired the inquiry, dismissed or ignored the arguments of the opposition and ruled in favour of the company. For him, the government, and for the media, which lauded his report, the views of the opponents of the plant seemed to entail too much of a change of social priorities. But one of the ideas that these opponents were trying to get across is thatthe desperate attempt to use nuclear fuel to prop up our industrial system is likely to result in social costs which citizens will find more and more obnoxious. Two books, recently arrived in Australia, concentrate on some of the political implications of the nuclear commitment.

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