AUTHORBalogh, Brian
TITLEChain Reaction: Expert Debate and Public Participation in American Commercial Nuclear Power, 1945-1975
PUBLISHERCambridge University Press
CITYCambridge, England

This book analyzes the rise in the importance and influence of experts in the field of nuclear politics after World War II and their decline in prestige in the 1970s. The author creates a framework for understanding nuclear politics by first describing professionalism and politics in general in the 20th century United States. Balogh discusses what he calls the "proministrative state," an informal alliance between professional experts in a variety of fields and the federal government. He shows the key role that experts played in the growth of commercial nuclear power in the 1950s and 1960s. As expertise in what was once a new and exotic field increased, so did conflicts among experts about the costs, safety, and environmental impact of nuclear power. That gave rise to expanding public doubts about the technology and played a key role in setting off the intense popular debate over nuclear power that became so prominent in the 1970s.

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