The Road to Yucca MountainA Federal Appeals Court ruled earlier this month that President Obama must make a decision about whether to use Yucca Mountain to dump nuclear waste. The Nevada site was designated by the George W. Bush administration as the nation’s only dumping ground for radioactive waste. The project has been halted since 2010, but the recent court ruling stated that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must proceed with conducting a licensing review of the project.

J. Samuel Walker’s The Road to Yucca Mountain gives a thorough account of the complex issues surrounding the site, and the problem of nuclear waste disposal in general. Walker is one of the most knowledgable people out there on the subject—he was the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s historian until recently. Tracing the U.S. government’s tangled efforts to solve the technical and political problems associated with radioactive waste, the book is an essential guide for understanding the continuing controversy over an illusive and emotional topic.