On Fairewinds’ Bookshelf: Our Nuclear Booklist

All books are linked to Amazon.com where you can read reviews or purchase the books, or to another website where you can read them online.  We have written a brief description of each book, and attempted to categorize them by subject. If there are books that you would like to see added to this list, please send us a recommendation through our contact page.

Health & Environment

Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe

Helen Caldicott

On the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, an international panel of leading medical and biological scientists, nuclear engineers, and policy experts assembled at the prestigious New York Academy of Medicine. Fairewinds' Arnie Gundersen was among the panelists. It was the first comprehensive attempt to address the health and environmental damage done by one of the worst nuclear accidents of our times. The only document of its kind, Crisis Without End represents an unprecedented look into the profound aftereffects of Fukushima,  Crisis Without End is both essential reading and a major corrective to the public record on Fukushima.

When Disaster Strikes 

Matthew Stein

Disasters often strike without warning and leave a trail of destruction in their wake. Yet armed with the right tools and information, survivors can fend for themselves and get through even the toughest circumstances. Matthew Stein's When Disaster Strikes provides a thorough, practical guide for how to prepare for and react in many of life's most unpredictable scenarios.

When Technology Fails

Matthew Stein

There’s never been a better time to “be prepared.” Matthew Stein’s comprehensive primer on sustainable living skills—from food and water to shelter and energy to first-aid and crisis-management skills—prepares you to embark on the path toward sustainability. But unlike any other book, Stein not only shows you how to live “green” in seemingly stable times, but to live in the face of potential disasters, lasting days or years, coming in the form of social upheaval, economic meltdown, or environmental catastrophe.

Too Hot To Touch The Problem of High-Level Nuclear Waste  William M. Alley and Rosemarie Alley, 2013 William and Rosemarie Alley provide an engaging and authoritative account of the controversies and possibilities surrounding disposal of nuclear waste in the US, with reference also to other countries around the world.

Life’s Delicate Balance: Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer Dr. Janette D. Sherman, 2000 Dr. Sherman writes in non-technical terms about the link between breast cancer and environmental pollution, and highlights means of prevention.

Preventing Breast Cancer: The Story of a Major, Proven, Preventable Cause of this Disease Dr. John W. Gofman, 1995 “Our estimate in this book is that about 75% of breast cancer is caused by earlier irradiation. There is absolutely no doubt that reducing unnecessary x-radiation will prevent vast numbers of future breast cancers.”

Radiation from Medical Procedures in the Pathogenesis of Cancer and Ischemic Heart Disease Dr. John W. Gofman, 1999 This book hypothesizes that medical radiation is likely the principal cause of cancer mortality in the United States in the 20th century, and that medical radiation is an important cause of death from Ischemic Heart Disease, also known as Coronary Heart Disease or Coronary Artery Disease.

Radiation-Induced Cancer from Low-Dose Exposure: An Independent Analysis Dr. John W. Gofman, 1990 In this book, Dr. Gofman presents evidence that cancer can be caused by low doses of radiation, refuting claims that there are safe levels of radiation exposure.

Living Downstream: A Scientist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment Dr. Sandra Steingraber, 1997 Biologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber studies the link between environmental toxins and cancer. “At once a deeply moving personal document and a groundbreaking work of scientific detection... that is as accessible and invaluable as Silent Spring.”

Fukushima Meltdown & Modern Radiation: Protecting Ourselves and Our Future Generations Dr. John Apsley, 2011 Dr. Apsley explains the health risks of nuclear power, with emphasis on the implications of the Fukushima incident. He presents ways to protect and detoxify our bodies from the harmful effects of radiation.

Closing the Circle on the Splitting of the Atom: The Environmental Legacy of Nuclear Weapons Production in the United State and What the Department of Energy is Doing About It US Department of Energy, Office of Environmental Management, 1996 “This book describes existing environmental, safety, and health problems throughout the nuclear weapons complex, and what the Department of Energy is doing to address them... The aim of this book is to foster deeper public understanding to help hasten the progress as the Department moves ahead on resolving these problems.”

The Enemy Within: The High Cost of Living Near Nuclear Reactors Jay M. Gould, 1996 Gould studies the link between deadly diseases and proximity to nuclear reactors, and believes that nuclear fallout patterns show that many health problems have more to do with “where you live than how you live.”

Chernobyl, 20 Years On: Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident European Committee on Radiation Risk, Eds. Busby & Yablokov, 2006 A collection of research by leading scientists on the continued health effects of Chernobyl, including many articles translated into English for the first time.

Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment Yablokov, Nesterenko & Nesterenko, 2009 A brave and and comprehensive collection of research by Ukrainian scientists, available for free online.

Exposure of the American Population to Radioactive Fallout from Nuclear Weapons Tests: A Review of the CDC-NCI Draft Report on a Feasibility Study National Research Council Board on Radiation Effects Research, 2003 “The committee believes that the CDC-NCI (Center for Disease Control- National Cancer Institute) working group performed a very competent feasibility assessment of the geographic distribution of probable doses to the population, the projected risks associated with those does, and a potential communication plan. However, the committee has identified some weaknesses in the feasibility study and the draft report and has a number of suggestions for improvements.”

First-Hand Accounts

The People of Three Mile Island Robert Del Tredici, 1980 A collection of photos and interviews from residents who experience the Three Mile Island nuclear accident first hand. Mr. Del Tredici and his photographs appear in epidemiologist Dr. Steve Wing's presentation about cancer rates increasing after the TMI accident.

Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town  Kelly McMasters, 2008 Kelly McMasters grew up loving her blue-collar hometown of Shirley. A service-town to the glittering Hamptons on the east end of Long Island, the place, though hardscrabble, was full of strong, hard-working families and an abundance of natural beauty. Comforted by the rhythms of small-town life, Kelly and her neighbors were lulled into a sense of safety. But while they were going to work and school, setting off fireworks at Fourth of July barbecues, or jumping through sprinklers in summertime, a deadly combination of working class shame and the environmental catastrophe of a nearby leaking nuclear laboratory began to boil over...

Plume: Poems Kathleen Flenniken, 2012 Flenniken grew up in a community of Hanford workers in Washington state at the height of the Cold War, where "every father I knew disappeared to fuel the bomb." The author herself worked as an engineer at Hanford for three years. After the release of declassified documents contradicting the safe world she knew as a child, and the radiation-induced illnesses of family friends, Flenniken makes sense of life at Hanford in this much lauded collection of poems.

Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place Terry Tempest Williams, 1992 Recommended by Fairewinds board member Chiho Kaneko, “Refuge” is the powerful true story of a family in Utah who are experiencing the health effects of atomic bomb testing.  Williams, a naturalist and writer, parallels the story of her mother dying of radiation-induced cancer with the environmental changes occurring simultaneously, as the Great Salt Lake rises to record heights and threatens local wildlife.

A Desperate Passion: An Autobiography Helen Caldicott, 1997 A memoir by Australian physician Dr. Helen Caldicott, founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, “which did perhaps more than any other group to thrust the nuclear issue under the public eye” (New York Times).

This is My Homeland: Stories of the effects of nuclear industries by the people of Serpent River First Nation and the north shore of Lake Huron Lorraine Rekmans, Keith Lewis and Anabel Dwyer, 2003 Present day testimonies and history about the effects of the nuclear industry on an indigenous group in North America.

Real Lives, Half Lives: Tales from the Atomic Wasteland Jeremy Hall, 1996 “The idea for a book about the secret lives of people exposed in one way or another to radioactivity-- the victims, the whistleblowers, the protesters, the speculators, the gangsters and terrorists-- came to me on a visit to Frenchman Flats in the summer of 1994 as I was standing at the edge of the Sedan crater and gazing into the void...”

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster Svetlana Alexievich, 1997. Translation 2005 by Keith Gessen. Personal accounts of the Chernobyl tragedy by those who experienced it, from everyday citizens to firefighters to the clean up crew. Comprised of interviews in monologue form.

Pluto’s Realm Elena Filatova, 2008 Haunting and fascinating photos of Chernobyl today, with text by the photographer. “In the first years after the accident our motto was- ‘Lets Save Chernobyl!’ Now, everyone just says ‘Let the grass grow through it...’ ”  We linked to the free online edition of this book, but it is also available on amazon.com.

The Whistleblowers: Exposing Corruption in Government and Industry Myron Peretz Glazer & Penina Migdal Glazer, 1989 “What kind of person puts a successful career at risk in order to warn the public of a dangerous or illegal situation? What are the consequences of such an action, and how do these people and their families deal with the pressure? What laws protect them, and where can they turn for support? The often surprising answers are in this book, the first large-scale, long-term study of sixty-four courageous ethical resisters and their spouses.”


We Almost Lost Detroit John G. Fuller, 1975 Recommended by Fairewinds board member Les Kanat, “We Almost Lost Detroit” details the history of Fermi 1, America’s first commercial breeder reactor, with particular emphasis on the partial meltdown that occurred in 1966 and ultimately closed the plant. This partial meltdown could have left the Detroit region virtually uninhabitable. This history book is particularly relevant today, as Detroit Edison attempts to open another reactor on the Fermi site.

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II Denise Kiernan, 2013 The true story of the thousands of women who worked on the Manhattan Project in the secret city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee during World War II.  Nine women are highlighted in this book: janitors, chemists, secretaries, even factory workers who unknowingly separated uranium.

The Day We Bombed Utah: America’s Most Lethal Secret John G. Fuller, 1985 The story of the Atomic Energy Commission's atomic bomb testing in Southwestern Utah and Eastern Nevada in the early 1950s. Most of the bombs were more powerful than Hiroshima, yet the government assured the local population that they were safe, and denied responsibility for their ensuing illness.

The Plutonium Files: America’s Secret Medical Experiments in the Cold War Eileen Welsome, 2000 In order to learn about the health effects of plutonium, the Manhattan Project’s medical doctors secretly injected eighteen patients across the country with plutonium. This was covered up, even from the patients themselves, for over fifty years.

Atomic America: How a Deadly Explosion and a Feared Admiral Changed the Course of Nuclear History Todd Tucker, 2009 Historian Todd Tucker investigates the story of the only fatal nuclear meltdown in US history, which took place at a testing station in rural Idaho in 1961.  “A shocking tale of negligence and subterfuge... the Army and its contractors had deliberately obscured the true cases of this terrible accident, the result of poor engineering as much as uncontrolled passions.”

Fallout: An American Nuclear Tragedy Phillip L. Franklin, 1989 The story of nuclear testing in Nevada in the 1950s and 1960s, and the subsequent health effects on the unsuspecting people downwind in Nevada, Utah and Arizona.  The book is framed around the 1982 trial by cancer victims and their survivors, which the author, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, attended.

The Story of Atomic Energy Laura Fermi, 1961 An illustrated book about the history of nuclear power, along with explanations of how nuclear power works. Written in 1961 by the wife of nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi, the book itself is a piece of history.

Three Mile Island: Thirty Minutes to Meltdown Daniel F. Ford, 1982 Daniel Ford, former executive director of the Union of Concerned Scientists, explains what happened at Three Mile Island, including the development of the plant, the causes of the accident and how it was handled, who and what is to blame, and what Three Mile Island means to the future of nuclear power.

The Greenpeace Book of the Nuclear Age: The Hidden History, the Human Cost John May, 1990 A comprehensive historical record of nuclear accidents and radiation incidents worldwide, including waste disposal messes, lost nuclear subs, and leaky reactors. “A book about accidents and risk, the nature of chance and the oppressive weight of secrecy, about official lies and the true cost of atomic energy, it incorporates technical information, history, and politics into a searing document.”


Physics for Poets Robert H. March, 2002 (5th ed.) “What does a physicist have to say to a poet? First and foremost, that scientists (or at least the best of them) practice their craft because they think it is fun.  And what makes it fun can be summarized in one word: wonder.” Written for the curious non-scientist.

Before the Big Bang: The Origins of the Universe and the Nature of Matter Ernest J. Sternglass, 1997 “Before the Big Bang explains some of the most puzzling aspects of recent cosmological discoveries. It includes a discussion of the origins of the universe, and the author’s firsthand exchanges with Einstein, Feynman, Niels Bohr and other scientific greats.”

The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality Dalai Lama, 2006 “I believe that spirituality and science are different but complementary investigative approaches with the same greater goal, of seeking the truth... Through a dialogue between the two disciplines, I hope both science and spirituality may develop to be of better service to the needs and well-being of humanity.”

Quantum Physics for Poets Leon Lederman & Christopher Hill, 2011 A highly-readable historical and scientific account of quantum theory, written by a Nobel Laureate and a theoretical physicist. “The advancing technology and scientific skills at the turn of the century enabled those scientist explorers to, in a sense, visit for the first time the domain of a remarkable and new alien civilization, the world of the atom.... It was as if the radical artists, composers, and writers of the age were scripting the laws of nature.”

Energy Policy

World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014

Mycle Schneider, et al., 2014

The world’s nuclear statistics are distorted by an anomaly whose cause is not technical but political. Three years after the Fukushima events started unfolding on 11 March 2011, government, industry and international institutional organizations continue to misrepresent the effects of the disaster on the Japanese nuclear program. To find a more appropriate way to deal with this situation, the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2014 proposes a new category called Long-Term Outage (LTO).

Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era Amory Lovins, 2011 "Reinventing Fire shows us that we neither need to freeze in the dark, nor go back to the Stone Age, to ensure a healthy, habitable planet for ourselves and our descendants." --Andy Kerr, Home Power

Carbon-Free and Nuclear Free: A Roadmap for US Energy Policy Arjun Makhijani, 2007 Makhijani, the President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research with a PhD in nuclear fusion, tells us how we can lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and mitigate climate change without resorting to nuclear power,  and without damaging our economy.

Power Play: The Fight to Control the World’s Electricity Sharon Beder, 2003 “A compelling and fast-paced account of the decades-long struggle to wrest control of electricity from public hands... an essential guide to the contemporary industrial, environmental, and political landscape.”

The Last Energy War: The Battle Over Utility Deregulation Harvey Wasserman, 1999 “Waging constant war against public ownership, the industry could have gone solar in the 1950s, but opted for the trillion-dollar dead end of atomic energy.  Now, through deregulation, it wants YOU to pay.”

Chain Reaction: Expert Debate & Public Participation in American Commercial Nuclear Power, 1945-1975 Brian Balogh, 1991 An examination of the Atomic Energy Commission, commercial nuclear power, and the role of experts in public policy debate. “An excellent and pioneering study of a pervasive problem in the historical relationship between science and public policy” (Samuel Hays, University of Pittsburgh).

Power Struggle: The Hundred Year War Over Electricity Richard Rudolph & Scott Ridley, 1986 The hundred year history of the electric power business in the United States. The conflicts between public and private interests are highlighted, as well as the politics behind energy policy.

The Risks of Nuclear Power Reactors: A Review of the NRC Reactor Safety Study WASH-1400 (NUREG-75/014) Union of Concerned Scientists, 1977 The NRC’s Reactor Safety Study (RSS) was published in 1975, and was used by the Federal government as definitive proof that nuclear reactors were safe to operate. In 1977 the Union of Concerned Scientists published this independent evaluation of the NRC’s study, which challenged the NRC’s position. Just two years later in 1979 the Three Mile Island nuclear plant melted down and changed history…

Nuclear Critics

Poisoned Power: The Case Against Nuclear Power Plants Before and After Three Mile Island John W. Gofman & Arthur R. Tamplin, 1979 Renowned for their research on the effects of radiation on the environment and human health, scientists Gofman and Tamplin present their case against nuclear power, and “expose the moral corruption of scientists, lawyers, physicians, industrialists, and government leaders in attempting to deceive the public into believing that there exists such a thing as a ‘safe,’ ‘permissible,’ or ‘allowable’ dose of radiation.”

Irrevy: an Irreverent, Illustrated View of Nuclear Power: a collection of talks, from Blunderland to Seabrook IV John W. Gofman, 1979 Thought-provoking illustrated essays on nuclear power, the health effects of radiation, energy efficiency, solar energy, public health concepts, technology, science and medicine, human rights, liberty, law, nuclear weapons, and “suggestions for possibly useful actions.”

Nuclear Ethics Joseph S. Nye, Jr., 1988 “A clear, responsible position between the extremes of nuclear advocacy and nuclear abolition-- offering a critically important alternative to the black-and-white world so often portrayed in the current nuclear arms debate.”

Fission Stories: Nuclear Power’s Secrets David Lochbaum, 2000 “The objective of this book is not to blow the lid off the nuclear industry, but to provide a peek behind its curtain. The stories are presented as amusing anecdotes and informative narratives instead of as critical assessments.” The print copy is hard to find, but follow the link to the original source, David Lochbaum’s blog “Fission Stories”.

Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer Helen Caldicott, 2006 Physician and anti-nuclear activist Dr. Helen Caldicott counters industry propaganda with the true costs and consequences of nuclear power.

The Tainted Desert: Environmental and Social Ruin in the American West Valerie Kuletz, 1998 “This study serves as the first comprehensive account of the impact of nuclearism on Native Americans in the U.S. Southwest-- and account that also points to a much larger problem of nuclear colonialism worldwide, in which nuclear activities continue on lands historically inhabited by indigenous people.”

Walking a Nuclear Tightrope: Unlearned Lessons of Year-Plus Reactor Outages David Lochbaum,2006 A report from David Lochbaum from the Union of Concerned Scientists about year-plus outages at nuclear power plants, including an evaluation of the NRC’s performance.

Nuclear Power in a Warming World: Assessing the Risks, Addressing the Challenges Gronlund, Lochbaum & Lyman, 2007 A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.  Addresses safety, nuclear proliferation and terrorist attacks, nuclear waste disposal, and nuclear reactor design.

Nuclear Roulette: The Truth About the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth Gar Smith, 2012 “Award-winning journalist Gar Smith dismantles the core arguments behind the nuclear-industrial complex’s purported “renaissance.” While some critics are familiar-- nuclear power is too costly, too dangerous, and too unstable- - others may surprise...”

Citizen Science & Taking Action

Citizen Scientist Frank von Hippel, 1991 “Blessed are the troublemakers,” writes von Hippel, noted physicist and leading advocate for public interest science. “Written with an astute understanding of issues underlying public policy, Citizen Scientist is a reasoned plea for a more knowledgeable public, a humane policy process, and a safer planet.”

Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times Paul Rogat Loeb, 1999 “Rich, engaging, clearly written... an essential book for anyone who wants to work for change” (Howard Zinn).

Profiles in Power: The Antinuclear Movement and the Dawn of the Solar Age Jerry Brown & Rinaldo Brutoco, 1997 Profiles of ten people who played a role in the decline of nuclear power and the emergence of alternative energy.

The Nuclear Waste Primer: A Handbook for Citizens The League of Women Voters, 1993 An explanation of the nuclear waste issue in layman’s terms, including concrete advice on taking action and being heard.

Flirting With Disaster: Why Accidents Are Rarely Accidental  Marc Gerstein, 2008 "A must-read for those who want to foster truth-telling in their organizations and head off disasters in the making."

Industry Publications

Information Digest US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, published annually A compilation of facts and information about the NRC and the nuclear industry, available in print and online. Includes information about the NRC finances and activities, US and worldwide nuclear energy, currently operating nuclear reactors, uranium mining and other nuclear materials, and radioactive waste.

Code of Federal Regulations: Energy, Chapter 1: Nuclear Regulatory Commission National Archives and Records Administration, published annually. The rules governing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, including employee conduct, public records, noncompliance, licensing, and radiation protection, available to the public online.

Frequently Asked Questions on License Renewal of Nuclear Power Reactors Division of License Renewal, US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2006 FAQs on license renewal, addressing the environmental review process, health concerns, waste disposal, security, public involvement, and more.

Review of Fuel Failures in Water Cooled Reactors International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, 2010 An overview of fuel failures in water cooled reactors, including light water reactors, boiling water reactors, and heavy water reactors, as well as their mechanisms and mitigation measures. An update of a 1998 publication of the same name. Includes descriptions of fuel failures between 1994 and 2006.


Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe

Helen Caldicott

On the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, an international panel of leading medical and biological scientists, nuclear engineers, and policy experts assembled at the prestigious New York Academy of Medicine. Fairewinds' Arnie Gundersen was among the panelists. It was the first comprehensive attempt to address the health and environmental damage done by one of the worst nuclear accidents of our times. The only document of its kind, Crisis Without End represents an unprecedented look into the profound aftereffects of Fukushima,  Crisis Without End is both essential reading and a major corrective to the public record on Fukushima.

The Official Report of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission The National Diet of Japan, 2012 Written by the Japanese legislature.  Overview of the accident, conclusion and recommendations, summary of findings, and survey of workers and evacuees.

Japan’s Tipping Point: Crucial Choices in the Post-Fukushima World Mark Pendergrast, 2011 “Mark Pendergrast arrived in Japan exactly two months after the Fukushima meltdown.  This book is his eye-opening account of his trip and his alarming conclusions.”


A Bluish White Light

Yasunaga Tatsumi and Sato Yutei, 2013 A collection of Tanka poetry by farmer and poet, Sato Yutei who foresaw and experienced the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident.


An Enemy of the People Henrik Ibsen, 1882 A whistleblower who calls attention to pollution in his town but becomes the enemy of his peers who feel the town will suffer due to his actions. This 130 year old Norwegian play is still relevant today.

Phoenix Rising Karen Hesse, 1994 “Thirteen-year-old Nye learns about relationships and death when fifteen-year-old Ezra, who was exposed to radiation leaked from a nearby nuclear plant, comes to stay at her grandmother’s Vermont farmhouse.” For young adults.

The Accident Hans Heinrich Ziemann, 1979 “They said the nuclear plant was totally safe. They were wrong.”

About a Mountain John D’Agata, 2010 “When John D’Agata helps his mother move to Las Vegas one summer, he begins to follow a story about the federal government’s plan to store nuclear waste in a place called Yucca Mountain... Here is the work of a penetrating thinker whose startling portrait of a mountain in the desert compels a reexamination of the future of human life.”

Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands Chris Bohjalian, 2014 "Bohjalian (whose many novels include the Oprah favorites “Midwives” and “The Sandcastle Girls”) writes about the nuclear aftermath in a scrupulously realistic way. He doesn’t blow the slightest apocalyptic or dystopian wind on those fuel rods. It’s nonetheless a scary scenario, the frightening flip side of every Homer Simpson mishap that millions of us have laughed at.”

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