Public utility deregulation, perhaps the most significant political and
economic development of the decade, also has been one of the most under
reported of such recent events. Now a timely new ebook published at the
booklocker.com by Susan Peterson Gateley "The Great Atomic Lake" provides
an overview of the complex issues and problems posed by North America's
ageing fleet of comercial nukes in a deregulated market place.
Millions of Americans and Canadians live within 25 miles of a commercial
nuclear plant. Many of these are beset by engineering problems such as
embrittlement, core shroud cracks, and steam generator tube corrosion.
Under deregulation staff cuts of up to 30% and competitive pressures are
bringing renewed attention to these and other safety issues associated
with nuclear plants across the country.
"The Great Atomic Lake" begins its examination of these and other issues
with a cruise around Lake Ontario the most "nuclearized" of the Great
Lakes. (Large electric power plants need vast volumes of water, hence
their intimate association with North America's lakes, rivers, and coastal
The book then describes some of the lingering effects of Reagan era
deregulation on the NRC and how more recent market place deregulation led
to a sudden huge increase in profitability for many of the nation's nukes.
As California is now discovering, deregulating a segment of the economy as
large and complex as the power production and distribution business is a
daunting task. Yet as book describes, the ultimate benefits of
deregulation could be great increases in efficiency through distributed
generation and a bigger role for energy production from renewables.
However, a race to the bottom is also possible depending on what happens
in Congress as federal legislation on energy policy and deregulation
comes to the floor. Says author Susan Peterson Gateley "I'm discouraged
about the path in energy policy we've followed so far, but I'm still
optimistic enough to write this book because we could still turn around
and take a greener road."
Nuclear power has been a presence for the author for two thirds of her
adult life. As a child in the early 1960s she watched the construction of
a nuclear station about two miles from her home, and in later years she
joined other activists in trying to bring attention to various nuclear
safety issues. Gateley has focused most of her previous writing effort on
Lake Ontario, a region she knows intimately from twenty years of cruising
around it with various sailboats. The book is now available as a pdf file
at www.booklocker.com for $6.95 and an excerpt from it is posted as an
html file at the author's website at www.silverwaters.com.