Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku joined Art Bell in a conversation about the dark side of nuclear energy. Kaku detailed various little-known nuclear mishaps from earlier decades, such as a Soviet incident that happened in the Ural Mountains in the 1950's, which he called "the mother-of-all nuclear accidents before Chernobyl." The reactor was actually in flames and entire villages had to be evacuated, he noted.
"I would say I'm critical of nuclear power," Kaku said, pointing out that having a potentially unstable reactor near a large population center such as Indian Point (which is 20 miles away from New York City) creates a dangerous scenario. But while he believes small nation states and terrorists may soon have access to nuclear weapons technology, he suggested that the world was probably closer to the brink of extinction during the Cold War, when both the US and the Soviets seriously considered a first strike, which likely would have lead to a "nuclear winter."
Kaku also touched on future space missions. "I think we should have a permanent moon base," but it should be manned by robots he said, which would be cheaper and less dangerous. Two new book projects are in the works for Kaku. His biography of Albert Einstein, Einstein's Cosmos, is set for an April 2004 release, and Parallel Worlds, which looks at the concept of multiverses, will probably be out a year from now, he said.