The book begins with a discussion on the need for nuclear power for us to have heating, lighting, cooking, radio, television and so on. Then it goes back to the very beginning when man used forces for power that exist in the outer regions of the atom. Then in the twentieth century, scientists began to wonder if there was anything smaller than the atom, and discovered the much greater forces that can be released from within the centre of the atom, which is what we mean by nuclear power. I'm not a very scientific person, and those couple of paragraphs in this Ladybird book explained the concept to me much more clearly than any science lesson at school!
The book continues with a detailed look at early experiments, and how scientists from across the world came together to unravel the secrets of the atom and were able to control the release of the atomic energy. The world became aware of this new power with the dropping of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.
The book takes a look at the future of nuclear power, for example in the Space Age. It suggests that the first planned use of nuclear engines will be to propel space ships shuttling between Moon and Earth orbits, although that hasn't happened quite yet!
The book is overwhelmingly positive in it's description of nuclear power. Atomic bombs are mentioned in passing with no hint of the huge loss of life and devastation that they cause. Perhaps this is because the book was written before nuclear power plant disasters like Chernobyl in 1986. I think that a book written today would be much more balanced about both advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power.
Although it is briefly mentioned that the used fuel elements are hot and radioactive, this is glossed over, giving the impression that they are somehow 'processed', with no mention of safety. Instead the book finishes with several pages of all the wonderful things that nuclear power will be able to do in the future, like powering cargo and passenger submarines across oceans and developing undersea food farms.
I'm joining in with Ladybird Tuesday at Being Mrs C. You can see all my previous Ladybird Tuesday posts here.