In Atomic Culture, eight scholars examine the range of cultural expressions of atomic energy from the 1940s to the early twenty-first century, including comic books, nuclear landscapes, mushroom-cloud postcards, the Los Alamos suburbs, uranium-themed board games, future atomic waste facilities, and atomic-themed films such as Dr. Strangelove and The Atomic Kid.
Despite the growing interest in atomic culture and history, the body of relevant scholarship is relatively sparse. Atomic Culture opens new doors into the field by providing a substantive, engaging, and historically based consideration of the topic that will appeal to students and scholars of the Atomic Age as well as general readers.
Contributors include Michael A. Amundson, Mick Broderick, Peter Goin, John Hunner, Ferenc M. Szasz, A. Costandina Titus, Peter C. van Wyck, and Scott C. Zeman.
Demonstrates how policymakers influenced environmental science during the early nuclear age
In Atomic Environments: Nuclear Technologies, the Natural World, and Policymaking, 1945–1960, Neil S. Oatsvall examines how top officials in the Truman and Eisenhower administrations used environmental science to develop nuclear strategy at the beginning of the Cold War. While many people were involved in research and analysis during the period in question, it was at highest levels of executive decision-making where environmental science and nuclear science most clearly combined to shape the nation’s policies.
Oatsvall clearly demonstrates how the natural world and the scientific disciplines that study it became integral parts of nuclear science rather than adversarial fields of knowledge. But while nuclear technologies heavily depended on environmental science to develop, those same technologies frequently caused great harm to the natural world. Moreover, while some individuals expressed real anxieties about the damage wrought by nuclear technologies, policymakers as a class consistently made choices that privileged nuclear boosterism and secrecy, prioritizing institutional values over the lives and living systems that they were ostensibly charged to protect.
By scrutinizing institutional policymaking practices and agendas at the birth of the nuclear age, a constant set of values becomes clear. Oatsvall reveals an emerging technocratic class that routinely valued knowledge about the environment to help create and maintain a nuclear arsenal, despite its existential threat to life on earth and the negative effects many nuclear technologies had on ecosystems and the American people alike. Although policymakers took their charge to protect and advance the welfare of the United States and its people seriously, Atomic Environments demonstrates how they often failed to do so because their allegiance to the US nuclear hierarchy blinded them to the real risks and dangers of the nuclear age.
WE KNOW, from repeated failures to predict and prevent catastrophes ranging from the Great Tohoku Earthquake to the global financial crisis of 2008, that complex adaptive systems, such as those found in nature or in economies, are actually very hard to predict, much less influence. Today, we face environmental degradation caused in large part by the use of fossil fuels, ever-declining efficiencies in extracting them, a pace of development for renewable energy insufficient for replacement of the fossil fuels we are burning through, and population growth that is likely to add two billion people globally by 2045. Despite partial recovery since the financial crisis of 2008, growth remains sluggish, and large budget deficits persist across much of the developed world. Meanwhile, developing states face their own challenges, stemming from unbalanced growth. Against this backdrop, and in light of the urgent need to pay closer heed to our environment, the last thing the world needs is an energy crisis triggered not merely by recurrent scares over supply, but by more lasting structural changes in our ability to use fossil fuels with reckless abandon. Buying Time applies lessons learned the hard way from the global economic crisis of the past decade, to offer an overview of the state of the environment and our energy future. Grounded in subtle thinking about complex systems, including the economy, energy, and the environment, this book underscores the connections linking them all. Kaz Makabe is a veteran financial systems expert who lived through the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. He nevertheless concludes that nuclear energy is the bridge than can help us cross over the abyss we face.
Transnational perspectives on the relationship between nuclear energy and society.
With the aim of overcoming the disciplinary and national fragmentation that characterizes much research on nuclear energy, Engaging the Atom brings together specialists from a variety of fields to analyze comparative case studies across Europe and the United States. It explores evolving relationships between society and the nuclear sector from the origins of civilian nuclear power until the present, asking why nuclear energy has been more contentious in some countries than in others and why some countries have never gone nuclear, or have decided to phase out nuclear, while their neighbors have committed to the so-called nuclear renaissance. Contributors examine the challenges facing the nuclear sector in the context of aging reactor fleets, pressing climate urgency, and increasing competition from renewable energy sources.
Written by leading academics in their respective disciplines, the nine chapters of Engaging the Atom place the evolution of nuclear energy within a broader set of national and international configurations, including its role within policies and markets.
Atomic energy is not only invisible, it has been cloaked in secrecy by government, industry, and the military. Yet for many Americans the effects of radiation have been less than secret. Just ask the radium workers in Ottawa, Illinois, the "downwinders" of Utah, or unsuspecting veterans of the Gulf War. When told from the perspective of ordinary people, nuclear history takes on a much different tone from that of the tranquil voices of authority who always told us we had nothing to fear.
In Learning to Glow, twenty-four essays testify to many of the unsuspected human and environmental costs of atomic science. They show that Americans have paid a terrible price for supposedly "winning" the Cold War--for although the nuclear nightmare may be over, we are still living with nuclear threats every day. Writers such as Scott Russell Sanders, Terry Tempest Williams, and Barbara Kingsolver reveal the psychic and emotional fallout of the Cold War and of subsequent developments in nuclear science. The essays include personal testimonies of what it was like to grow up with family members in nuclear-related jobs; hard-hitting journalism on the health and environmental costs of our nuclear policies and practices; and poignant stories of coming to terms with nuclear power, including contributions by writers who revisit Hiroshima in an attempt to heal the wounds left by the Bomb.
These essays offer an alternative to the official version of nuclear history as told to us by school textbooks, government authorities, and nuclear industry officials. They are stories of and by ordinary people who have suffered the consequences of the decisions made by those in power-stories that have been largely ignored, dismissed, or suppressed. They will challenge readers to re-examine their preconceptions about the way we deal with issues of nuclear arms and radioactive waste because they show that nuclear history does not belong to experts but to us all.
Alison Hawthorne Deming
Richard H. Minear
Scott Russell Sanders
Terry Tempest Williams
John Canaday analyzes a variety of texts produced by physicists before, during, and after the Second World War, including Niels Bohr’s "The Quantum Postulate"; the Blegdamsvej Faust, a parody of Goethe’s Faust that cast physicists as its principle characters; The Los Alamos Primer, the technical lectures used for training at Los Alamos; scientists’ descriptions of their work and of the Trinity test; and Leo Szilard’s post-war novella, The Voice of the Dolphins.
Janet Wood The Institution of Engineering and Technology, 2007 Library of Congress TK9202.W64 2007
This title is the first of four 'new-look' books in the Power and Energy series that are aimed at industry professionals rather than academics. Nuclear Power explains in detail how nuclear power works, its costs, its benefits as part of the electricity supply system, and also examines its record.
In Radiation and Revolution political theorist and anticapitalist activist Sabu Kohso uses the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster to illuminate the relationship between nuclear power, capitalism, and the nation-state. Combining an activist's commitment to changing the world with a theorist's determination to grasp the world in its complexity, Kohso outlines how the disaster is not just a pivotal event in postwar Japan; it represents the epitome of the capitalist-state mode of development that continues to devastate the planet's environment. Throughout, he captures the lived experiences of the disaster's victims, shows how the Japanese government's insistence on nuclear power embodies the constitution of its regime under the influence of US global strategy, and considers the future of a radioactive planet driven by nuclearized capitalism. As Kohso demonstrates, nuclear power is not a mere source of energy—it has become the organizing principle of the global order and the most effective way to simultaneously accumulate profit and govern the populace. For those who aspire to a world free from domination by capitalist nation-states, Kohso argues, the abolition of nuclear energy and weaponry is imperative.
Gabriele Schwab University of Minnesota Press, 2020 Library of Congress PN56.N83 | Dewey Decimal 355.021701
A pioneering examination of nuclear trauma, the continuing and new nuclear peril, and the subjectivities they generate
Amid resurgent calls for widespread nuclear energy and “limited nuclear war,” the populations that must live with the consequences of these decisions are increasingly insecure. The nuclear peril combined with the looming threat of climate change means that we are seeing the formation of a new kind of subjectivity: humans who are in a position of perpetual ontological insecurity. In Radioactive Ghosts, Gabriele Schwab articulates a vision of these “nuclear subjectivities” that we all live with.
Focusing on the legacies of the Manhattan Project, Hiroshima, and nuclear energy politics, Radioactive Ghosts takes us on a tour of the little-seen sides of our nuclear world. Examining devastating uranium mining on Native lands, nuclear sacrifice zones, the catastrophic accidents at Chernobyl and Fukushima, and the formation of a new transspecies ethics, Schwab shows how individuals threatened with extinction are creating new adaptations, defenses, and communal spaces. Ranging from personal accounts of experiences with radiation to in-depth readings of literature, film, art, and scholarly works, Schwab gives us a complex, idiosyncratic, and personal analysis of one of the most overlooked issues of our time.
The Rise of Nuclear Fear
Spencer R. Weart Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress QC773.W44 2012 | Dewey Decimal 621.48
After a tsunami destroyed the cooling system at Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant, triggering a meltdown, protesters around the world challenged the use of nuclear power. Germany announced it would close its plants by 2022. Although the ills of fossil fuels are better understood than ever, the threat of climate change has never aroused the same visceral dread or swift action. Spencer Weart dissects this paradox, demonstrating that a powerful web of images surrounding nuclear energy holds us captive, allowing fear, rather than facts, to drive our thinking and public policy.
Building on his classic, Nuclear Fear, Weart follows nuclear imagery from its origins in the symbolism of medieval alchemy to its appearance in film and fiction. Long before nuclear fission was discovered, fantasies of the destroyed planet, the transforming ray, and the white city of the future took root in the popular imagination. At the turn of the twentieth century when limited facts about radioactivity became known, they produced a blurred picture upon which scientists and the public projected their hopes and fears. These fears were magnified during the Cold War, when mushroom clouds no longer needed to be imagined; they appeared on the evening news. Weart examines nuclear anxiety in sources as diverse as Alain Resnais's film Hiroshima Mon Amour, Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road, and the television show The Simpsons.
Recognizing how much we remain in thrall to these setpieces of the imagination, Weart hopes, will help us resist manipulation from both sides of the nuclear debate.