The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) offers the book as a free download on its website (www.ieer.org). It is a product of IEER and the Nuclear Policy Research Institute. Its author, Dr. Arjun Makhijani, had to be talked into doing the book by S. David Freeman and Dr. Helen Caldicott. He had been so pre-occupied with research on the environmental and health affects of nuclear testing and processing that he was unaware of the advances in technology that had occurred during those years. Thus his skepticism and reluctance were jettisoned by the virtual revolution he discovered when he finally agreed to take on the research.
The book addresses the crisis represented by severe climate disruption, oil insecurity and nuclear proliferation. Makhijani set out to answer the question: is it possible to eliminate CO2 emissions from the U.S. energy sector without resort to nuclear power, without purchasing off-sets and at reasonable cost? His book answers in the affirmative, and provides a roadmap to get us there in 30 to 50 years.
The prime alternatives in Arjun’s scenario are wind and solar, augmented by hydropower, compressed air and back-up natural gas. Developments in hybrids and batteries make feasible a situation where parked cars could either feed or draw from the grid as needed.
U.S. electrical consumption could be more than met by wind generation in 12 Midwestern and Rocky Mountain states. Just the parking lots and rooftops in the U.S. could provide, via solar installations, most U.S. electricity needs. The Roadmap could be created with existing technology, requiring no miracle break-through, although of course developments in all areas would only shorten the timeline and/or reduce cost.
The political will to pursue this roadmap of course is the rub. Entrenched interests have the ear of policy makers. For example, a Blue Ribbon commission was appointed by the President to study the future of nukes in the U.S. Neither Dave Freeman, Dr. Caldicott or Makhijani were invited despite their knowledge and credentials, presumably because their opposition to nuclear power might skewer the pro-nuke conclusions presumably wished for, presumably due to ideology and industry campaign contributions. It has always been thus, folly will triumph unless its only effective adversary, an informed democracy, is mobilized.