Superbly crafted but enormously frightening ... The anatomy of these disasters reveals consistent patterns of behaviour; essentially the same story is repeated six times ... Plokhy constructs a formidable case for consigning nuclear power generation to the past. His six case studies are exquisitely rendered with just the right level of technical information to explain the problems without making them incomprehensible or dull. The suspense of reactor crews struggling to find a solution to meltdown makes this book weirdly entertaining ... To solve the energy crisis with nuclear power would require the construction of thousands of reactors worldwide. The problems so perfectly explained in this book would not miraculously disappear; they would proliferate.
Timely ... The strength of Atoms and Ashes lies in Plokhy’s ability to explain the technical aspects of the unfolding disasters while also exploring the role of human and organisational factors, as well as the political demands that created the imperatives to meet ambitious targets.
Plokhy notes that radioactive pollution persists for generations, considers what was learned after each accident, documents how safety measures and reactor designs have improved, and asks whether nuclear energy is a viable path forward, considering all the risks.
A stunning survey ... Plokhy lucidly explains complex scientific and technical procedures and draws sharp profiles of key players in each episode. This well-informed study strikes a note of caution about the nuclear future.