Annotated bibliography - Part 15

Annotated bibliography

Caldicott, Helen - Annotated bibliography introduction. Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer to Global Warming Or Anything Else. Melbourne University Press, 2006.  Web. 6 July 2010.

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The main idea of this book is to undermine the arguments that nuclear energy is a clean and cost-efficient energy choice, and that it cannot help solve any national or global problem. The book has an aggressive tone, because it is clear from the title that the author vehemently denies the ability of nuclear energy to respond to global warming or any other national or international concern. In particular, Caldicott argues that nuclear energy is not at all as clean as its supporters claim, and it will soon be a more environmentally damaging energy option. Furthermore, she stresses that nuclear energy will not effectively lessen the dependence on foreign oil. She recommends that the government should shift to cheap and renewable energies instead, such as solar energy, wind power, and geothermal energy.

The Introduction part of the book is very important in understanding the points that the author wants to make, because it summarizes the main arguments of the book. This chapter made me think about the “nuclear energy propaganda” that Caldicott attacks. She introduces new ideas, supported by studies in her footnotes, which destroy the notion of nuclear energy as a clean and cost-efficient energy. She says that nuclear energy is neither clean nor green, because traditional fossil fuels are used to mine and process the uranium that is needed to operate the nuclear power plants, and fossil fuel energy is also used to transport and store the toxic wastes of nuclear energy plants. This is an interesting view of nuclear energy, because people do not generally consider the “hidden costs” of nuclear energy. It is easy to just understand that nuclear energy does not come from fossil fuels, so the former must be a clean and green alternative source of energy. In reality, the whole processes that involve nuclear energy are not clear or green entirely.

On the other hand, when Caldicott says that the low production of CO2 is only a transition process, I felt angry. She makes sense, when she says that in a few decades, more fossil fuels will be burned to use less concentrated ore veins. What does this mean? This means that nuclear energy is worse than fossil fuel, because it is “claimed” as clean energy. In the long run, it is not clean or green in a great way. Instead, nuclear energy will only contribute to global warming, which is upsetting, because it is supposed to be clean energy option. I wonder why scientists and economists, who support nuclear energy, did not consider these future problems. Finding an alternative energy resource focuses on sustainability and the fact that nuclear energy would be contributing to CO2 production makes it another unsustainable energy resource.

 Caldicott brings to the forefront more of the disadvantages of nuclear energy. I like the way she uses simple words to argue her points. She also uses evidence to back up her claims. I find her writing style easy to understand and she makes her points in a persuasive way. Finally, I also enjoyed reading the book, because Caldicott is a true supporter of sustainable alternative energy, since she exposes the “myths” about nuclear energy. I want to support writers, who try to balance the perspective on current energy options, so that the society and the government would be better informed about their energy resources and what they can do to create a workable and sustainable energy plan.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. Perf. Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, and Sterling Hayden. Columbia Pictures Corporation, 1964. DVD.

This is a satirical film on nuclear war. It shows how subjective decisions often cloud national decisions, which destroys the whole world. The recurring image of the planes of the U.S. Air Force, which carry nuclear weapons, is an attack on the idea of protecting the American people. The defense department is supposed to protect the life and security of its people, but in this film, it shows how the defense can be a form of offense to one’s own security and survival. It fits into the meaning of the film, which makes people think about the “good” of being a strong nation through having nuclear weapons that can also destroy them.

This image of the airplane also supports the theme of the movie- fear and how it can lead to the end of us all. The movie shows how powerful nations, such as the United States and Russia have been so fearful of each other, so they made weapons of mass destruction to both enforce their strength, but at the same time, this fear has been their great weakness. Apparently, in this story, Russia invented a Doomsday device that will be activated upon any attack on Russian soil. This device cannot even be deactivated, as a protection for sabotage. But the ending of the film shows that fear of one another is pointless. Major T. J. “King” Kong rides the nuclear bomb from the American plan, with the belief that he is serving the country. In reality, he has been misled, because his heroic act spells the doom for the world, as he also detonates the Doomsday device upon impact on Russia. This film sends the message that nuclear weapons cannot protect us. They can only harm human life and existence.

I find this film very interesting and relevant up to now, because it shows how nuclear weapons can be a threat to a nation in a political manner. Nuclear weapons act like a signifier of the strongest, which is why some countries are still alleged to be making nuclear weapons, such as Iraq. And look what happened to Iraq: it was bombed for being a so-called nuclear bomb hideaway. The film is also relevant to present times, because it shows how important it is to understand why nuclear weapons are a major threat to our lives. They cannot protect us, because they cannot selectively kill our enemies. In any case of accident or loss of control, the film leaves the message that nuclear weapons are what they are- weapons of mass destruction, and we, the makers, are part of those who can easily be destroyed by our own weapons.

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