Nuclear Power Reading List

By Dr. Nick Touran, Ph.D., P.E., 2021-05-24 , Updated 2024-02-23

This is a curated directory of reading material that may be interesting for people to learn more about nuclear power technology. Free items are indicated with Free!


Open source You can contribute to this by editing this page on github

General interest §

High-level introductions

Meredith Angwin

Shorting the Grid: The Hidden Fragility of Our Electric Grid

A general overview of electricity generation and governance. Contains plenty of discussion of nuclear compared to other electricity generating technologies. (2020)

Rauli Partanen, Janne Korhonen

The Dark Horse: Nuclear Power and Climate Change

Context about the scale of the energy transition and information about nuclear power. (2020)

Joshua Goldstein and Staffan Qvist

A Bright Future: How some countries have solved climate change and the rest can follow

Book based on a NY Times op ed that inspired the Oliver Stone documentary “Nuclear” (2019-08-09)

Colin Tucker

How to Drive a Nuclear Reactor

Shows you that Reactor Physics isn’t Rocket Science Explains why Reactors are much safer than you might think. Enables anyone to understand how a Nuclear Reactor works. (2019)

Scott Montgomery

Seeing the Light: The case for nuclear power in the 21st century

A high-level overview of the case for nuclear from an energy policy professor. (2017-09-14)

Rauli Partanen, Janne Korhonen

Climate Gamble: Is Anti-Nuclear Activism Endangering Our Future?

Good book about energy choices (2017)

Gweneth Cravens

Power to Save the World: The Truth about Nuclear Energy

A climate-concerned nuclear skeptic re-asks the old questions and gets new and surprising answers. (2010-12-01)

Richard Garwin and Georges Charpak

Megawatts and Megatons: A Turning Point in the Nuclear Age

Good high-level overview about nuclear technology and reactor development programs (2001-10)

Jacques Leclercq

The Nuclear Age Free!

Hands down the most beautiful, complete, and interesting general purpose nuclear book I have ever seen. (1986)

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Academic reports and articles §


Carbon Neutrality in the UNECE Region - Technology Interplay under the Carbon Neutrality Concept Free!

A broad-stroke comparison of different energy sources in terms of lifecycle impacts across many metrics (2022-10)

Jessica Lovering, Suzanne Hobbs Baker

Can Nuclear Power Go Local? Free!

A vision for nuclear technology fulfilling progressive values (2021)


Technology Brief Nuclear Power (PDF) Free!

An incredible collection of data from the UN scientists describing nuclear energy from a climate perspective. (2021)

Richard Rhodes

Why Nuclear Power Must Be Part of the Energy Solution Free!

A Pulitzer Prize-winning author argues that nuclear power has a place in solving climate change (2018-07-19)


The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World Free!

A relatively modern analysis of the nuclear industry (2018)

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Documentaries and videos §

Feature length and shorter documentaries and videos about nuclear. See also the link to hundreds of other videos at bottom of page.

Oliver Stone

Nuclear Now!

A feature-length documentary describing the modern case for nuclear power (2023)

Greens for Nuclear Energy

CRITICAL: Greens for Nuclear Energy Free!

“Critical” is a climate change film with a timely twist - instead of criticising everybody else, here’s some greens examining their own credentials. It challenges a foundational principle for the green movement - being anti-nuclear - from within the movement itself. (2022)

Isabelle Boemeke

Nuclear power is our best hope to ditch fossil fuels (TED talk) Free!

A TED talk from the world’s first nuclear TikTok influencer describing the case for nuclear in 10 mins (2022)

Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell

Do we Need Nuclear Energy to Stop Climate Change? Free!

An animated 10-minute summary of why nuclear is needed to help fight climate change (2021)

Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell

Worst Nuclear Accidents in History Free!

An amazingly animated 10-minute summary of nuclear safety on YouTube (2021)

De Avondshow met Arjen Lubach | VPRO

Nuclear Energy - Zondag met Lubach (S09) Free!

A hilarious discussion of nuclear energy in the Dutch language (with english subtitles) (2018)

David Schumacher

The New Fire

A full documentary following several nuclear power startup companies in the US as they attempt to bring nuclear technology to help solve climate change (2018)

Robert Stone

Pandora’s Promise

An excellent documentary covering the story and promise of nuclear power (2013)

Atomic Energy Commission

Atomic Energy Commission Videos Free!

A large collection of semi-technical films about nuclear power. (1975 and earlier)


Our Friend The Atom Free!

A video companion to the Disney-produced nuclear book by the same title (1957)

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Textbooks §

Some new, some oldies but goodies.

Thomas J. Dolan (editor)

Molten Salt Reactors and Thorium Energy

A large collection of chapters describing MSRs and Thorium (2017)

Duderstadt & Hamilton

Nuclear Reactor Analysis Free!

The classic senior undergraduate nuclear engineering textbook covering the basics of reactor physics, neutron transport calculations, thermal/hydraulics, and plant design. Often taught to the senior class of nuclear engineering students. (1976)

Bell and Glasstone

Nuclear Reactor Theory Free!

A graduate-level classic textbook describing the physical concepts and mathematical methods used to predict the behavior of neutrons in nuclear reactors. (1970)

El-Wakil, M. M.

Nuclear Power Engineering Free!

A detailed and complete book covering all kinds of nuclear engineering issues, including coolant choice, moderator choice, reactor configuration. Really a gem! (1962)

M. A. Schultz.

Control of nuclear reactors and power plants Free!

An excellent and detailed textbook about how to control a chain reacting nuclear power plant (1961)


Principles of nuclear reactor engineering Free!

861 pages of detailed nuclear engineering knowledge (1956)

Russell R. Williams

Principles Of Nuclear Chemistry Free!

A nuclear chemistry textbook (1950)

Joseph A. Thie

Reactor Noise Free!

An AEC monograph describing noise analysis in nuclear reactors


Introduction to Nuclear Reactor Theory Free!

A classic introductory level textbook often taught in the first nuclear engineering class that nuclear engineering students take. The old version is available but the third edition is much more common.

DOE Fundamentals


The Nuclear Physics and Reactor Theory Handbook was developed to assist nuclear facility operating contractors in providing, operators, maintenance personnel, and the technical staff with the necessary fundamentals training to ensure a basic understanding of nuclear physics and reactor theory.

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Podcasts §

If you like podcasts, here are a few to try out


Nuclear Explained Free!

Educational discussions from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (2021 - today)

Emmet Penney

Nuclear Barbarians Free!

A podcast about nuclear, energy, and possibility (2021 - today)

Chris Keefer

Decouple Free!

Lots of great discussions with people across climate, business, and nuclear areas (2020 - today)

Bret Kugelmass and others

Titans of Nuclear Free!

Hundreds of in-depth interviews with people all across the nuclear industry (2018 - today)

Rod Adams

The Atomic Show Free!

The OG nuclear podcaster goes into depth on countless issues of interest across the decades (2006 - today)

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Open-access publications §

Yang, W.S.

Fast Reactor Physics and Computational Methods Free!

An excellent overview of fast reactor physics and computational methods from a legendary author (2012)

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Technology-specific resources §

There are lots of compilations of info on various subsets of nuclear technology

Nuclear Innovation Alliance

Advanced Nuclear Reactor Technology: A Primer Free!

Basic information about some reactors in development outside of typical large water-cooled reactors (September 2021)

Generation IV International Forum

Education and Training Working Group Free!

Many videos about different nuclear topics (2022)


Technical and Economic Aspects of Load Following with Nuclear Power Plants

How nuclear plants can and do load follow (2021)


Advances in Small Modular Reactor Technology Developments (PDF)

Modern info about small modular reactors (2020)


Fast Reactor Technology Training Materials Free!

Excellent and detailed information about the history, technology, promises, and challenges of fast-neutron reactors. (2019)

Dan Wooten

Lessons Learned from Fast Flux Test Facility Experience (PDF) Free!

Valuable lessons learned from the FFTF (2017)


Design Features and Operating Experience of Experimental Fast Reactors Free!

Good descriptions of previous small fast reactors (2013)


Fluid Fuel Reactors Free!

A highlight from the 1958 Atoms for Peace conference, this book details fluid fueled reactors like aqueous homogeneous reactors and molten salt reactors. (1958)

Starr and Dickinson

Sodium Graphite Reactors Free!

A highlight from the 1958 Atoms for Peace conference, this book details sodium-cooled, slow neutron reactors intended to achieve passive low-pressure safety, high temperature efficiency, and operate on very low enriched or natural uranium. (1958)

Dietrich and Zinn

Solid Fuel Reactors Free!

A highlight from the 1958 Atoms for Peace conference, this book details solid fuel breeder reactors including Fermi-1, EBR-1, and EBR-2. (1958)


Overview of Molten Salt Reactor Technology Training Materials Free!

Excellent and detailed information about the history, technology, promises, and challenges of molten salt reactors.

Charles Till and Yoon Chang

Plentiful Energy: The Story of the Integral Fast Reactor (PDF) Free!

A book describing the development of a fast-neutron breeder reactor.

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Comic books §

People used to make comics about nuclear power

Reddy Kilowatt, Inc.

The Mighty Atom: The Story of Electricity from Amber to Atoms Free!

A comic book with Reddy Kilowatt talking about electricity and atoms. (1958)

General Electric

Adventures Inside the Atom Free!

A comic describing the basic concepts of nuclear fission technology from the very early days. (1948)

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History §

Nuclear technology has a rich history with many fascinating developments. There are dozens upon dozens of deep-dive references in the reference section of our nuclear reactor development history page. But we’ll put some here too.

Pranab Samanta, David Diamond, and William Horak

NRC Regulatory History of Non-Light Water Reactors (1950-2019) (PDF) Free!

This report describes the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) history with the licensing of non-light water reactors (non-LWRs). The focus is on regulatory policy and licensing issues that have arisen in the past so that NRC staff will be in a better position to deal with these matters in the future (2019-06-10)

NUMARK Associates, et al


This report summarizes the available domestic and international operating experience (OpE) for both power and research advanced non-light-water reactors with regard to materials and component integrity. It focuses on both sodium-cooled fast reactors (SFRs) and high-temperature gas-cooled reactors (HTGRs). (2019-03)

Spencer Weart

The Rise of Nuclear Fear

Definitive history of the psychology of the atom (2012)

Alvin Weinberg

The First Nuclear Era

As a young nuclear engineer, I was enchanted by Alvin Weinberg’s autobiography, The First Nuclear Era. He took me through a very personal history of concepts I have studied, and struck many chords by recounting such things as the day the term “breeder reactor” was thought up. Weinberg discusses pioneering neutron transport, working with the Manhattan Project, the origins of the national labs, how he influenced today’s dominance of light-water reactors, and a history of the various goings on that brought nuclear power to where it is today. (1994)

Hewlett and Holl

Atoms for Peace and War Free!

A phenomenal deep-dive into the history of nuclear enterprise in the USA. See also Many related publications at the DOE historical publications page (1990)

Richard Rhodes

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

A Pulitzer Prize winning deep dive into the story of the development of nuclear fission weapons. It covers most of the early nuclear physics discoveries, and then tells some wilder-than-fiction true stories about the wartime sprint to make the ultimate weapon. This is a must read. (1986)

John Thompson

Significant Operational Experience - 7 Major Events with Regulatory Implications (PDF) Free!

A slide deck describing the 7 major events that shaped the industry’s regulations.

Walker and Wellock

A Short History of Nuclear Regulation, 1946-2009 Free!

A brief overview of some significant events in the history of U.S. nuclear regulation.

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Virtual Tours §

Not exactly reading, but… these virtual tours are a lot of fun

Oak Ridge

X-10 Graphite Reactor Free!

Tour the second nuclear reactor ever, a air-cooled graphite moderated reactor in Oak Ridge. (2023)


The Society for the Preservation of Canada’s Nuclear Heritage Museum Free!

Explore this incredible collection of Canadian nuclear history. The library alone has untold gems in it. Not to mention all the incredible hardware and models! (2023)

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Other educational websites

  • CANTEACH — An epic collection of freely available information about CANDU reactors

Other lists

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