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In the face of climate change and oil shortages, nuclear technology offers many important possibilities. Half-Lives evaluates the promise of nuclear technology as a source of clean energy, as well as the wide range of applications in medicine and industry it offers in a uniquely Canadian context.
Half-Lives explains the fundamentals of nuclear reactions and radioactivity with deftly crafted prose that precludes the need for a deep background in mathematics or science. The uses of nuclear technology in Canada are explored in clear, accessible language, from uranium mining to electricity-producing nuclear power reactors (including the Canadian-designed CANDU reactor), to nuclear medicine and industrial applications.
First published in 2002, Half-Lives remains the only book to consider nuclear technology from a Canadian perspective; this new edition updates the issues in light of industry developments, politics, and environmental crisis.
1 Nuclear Technology at the Crossroads 1
2 Splitting the Atom 5
3 Radiation Everywhere 24
4 Biological Effects of Radiation 37
5 Electricity and an Impending Energy Crisis
6 CANDU: The Canadian Reactor 76
7 The Global Nuclear Picture 91
8 Safety: The Prime Imperative 103
9 Nuclear Power and the Environment 121
10 High-Level Nuclear Waste 140
11 Nuclear Medicine 153
12 Nuclear Technology in Industry and Science 167
13 Uranium: The Nuclear Fuel 182
14 The Fission Future 200
15 Fusion: The Energy of the Future? 208
16 Research: The Path Forward 220
Appendix A 245
Appendix B 258
Notes and Bibliography 259