Plutopia

Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters

Author: Kathryn L. Brown

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199855765

Category: History

Page: 406

View: 1697

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In Plutopia, Brown draws on official records and dozens of interviews to tell the stories of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia-the first two cities in the world to produce plutonium. To contain secrets, American and Soviet leaders created plutopias--communities of nuclear families living in highly-subsidized, limited-access atomic cities. Brown shows that the plants' segregation of permanent and temporary workers and of nuclear and non-nuclear zones created a bubble of immunity, where dumps and accidents were glossed over and plant managers freely embezzled and polluted. In four decades, the Hanford plant near Richland and the Maiak plant near Ozersk each issued at least 200 million curies of radioactive isotopes into the surrounding environment--equaling four Chernobyls--laying waste to hundreds of square miles and contaminating rivers, fields, forests, and food supplies. Because of the decades of secrecy, downwind and downriver neighbors of the plutonium plants had difficulty proving what they suspected, that the rash of illnesses, cancers, and birth defects in their communities were caused by the plants' radioactive emissions. Plutopia was successful because in its zoned-off isolation it appeared to deliver the promises of the American dream and Soviet communism; in reality, it concealed disasters that remain highly unstable and threatening today. -- From publisher description.
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Plutopia

Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters

Author: Kate Brown

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019932381X

Category: History

Page: 416

View: 7952

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While many transnational histories of the nuclear arms race have been written, Kate Brown provides the first definitive account of the great plutonium disasters of the United States and the Soviet Union. In Plutopia, Brown draws on official records and dozens of interviews to tell the extraordinary stories of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia-the first two cities in the world to produce plutonium. To contain secrets, American and Soviet leaders created plutopias--communities of nuclear families living in highly-subsidized, limited-access atomic cities. Fully employed and medically monitored, the residents of Richland and Ozersk enjoyed all the pleasures of consumer society, while nearby, migrants, prisoners, and soldiers were banned from plutopia--they lived in temporary "staging grounds" and often performed the most dangerous work at the plant. Brown shows that the plants' segregation of permanent and temporary workers and of nuclear and non-nuclear zones created a bubble of immunity, where dumps and accidents were glossed over and plant managers freely embezzled and polluted. In four decades, the Hanford plant near Richland and the Maiak plant near Ozersk each issued at least 200 million curies of radioactive isotopes into the surrounding environment--equaling four Chernobyls--laying waste to hundreds of square miles and contaminating rivers, fields, forests, and food supplies. Because of the decades of secrecy, downwind and downriver neighbors of the plutonium plants had difficulty proving what they suspected, that the rash of illnesses, cancers, and birth defects in their communities were caused by the plants' radioactive emissions. Plutopia was successful because in its zoned-off isolation it appeared to deliver the promises of the American dream and Soviet communism; in reality, it concealed disasters that remain highly unstable and threatening today. An untold and profoundly important piece of Cold War history, Plutopia invites readers to consider the nuclear footprint left by the arms race and the enormous price of paying for it.
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The Great Acceleration

Author: J. R. McNeill

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674970748

Category: History

Page: 288

View: 8667

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The pace of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and population growth has thrust the planet into a new age—the Anthropocene. Humans have altered the planet’s biogeochemical systems without consciously managing them. The Great Acceleration explains the causes, consequences, and uncertainties of this massive uncontrolled experiment.
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Midnight in Chernobyl

The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster

Author: Adam Higginbotham

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 1501134647

Category: History

Page: 560

View: 2045

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Journalist Adam Higginbotham’s definitive, years-in-the-making account of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster—and a powerful investigation into how propaganda, secrecy, and myth have obscured the true story of one of the twentieth century’s greatest disasters. Early in the morning of April 26, 1986, Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station exploded, triggering history’s worst nuclear disaster. In the thirty years since then, Chernobyl has become lodged in the collective nightmares of the world: shorthand for the spectral horrors of radiation poisoning, for a dangerous technology slipping its leash, for ecological fragility, and for what can happen when a dishonest and careless state endangers its citizens and the entire world. But the real story of the accident, clouded from the beginning by secrecy, propaganda, and misinformation, has long remained in dispute. Drawing on hundreds of hours of interviews conducted over the course of more than ten years, as well as letters, unpublished memoirs, and documents from recently-declassified archives, Adam Higginbotham has written a harrowing and compelling narrative which brings the disaster to life through the eyes of the men and women who witnessed it firsthand. The result is a masterful nonfiction thriller, and the definitive account of an event that changed history: a story that is more complex, more human, and more terrifying than the Soviet myth. Midnight in Chernobyl is an indelible portrait of one of the great disasters of the twentieth century, of human resilience and ingenuity, and the lessons learned when mankind seeks to bend the natural world to his will—lessons which, in the face of climate change and other threats, remain not just vital but necessary.
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Fallout

A Journey Through the Nuclear Age, From the Atom Bomb to Radioactive Waste

Author: Fred Pearce

Publisher: Portobello Books

ISBN: 1846276276

Category: History

Page: N.A

View: 4003

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At a moment when a new generation of power stations and weapons are being developed, Fallout is a measured and fascinating exploration of our most misunderstood energy source and asks: what can we learn from our past mistakes, and what role should nuclear play in our future? Hiroshima. Bikini Atoll. Windscale. Chernobyl. Fukushima. These names no longer denote a place, but a disaster. In a few syllables, they evoke the heights of human ingenuity clashing with the worst of human error. Individually, each place has its own sobering story to tell; together, they form a timeline of the nuclear age. In this compelling and deeply researched book, Fred Pearce investigates the greatest nuclear incidents and accidents of the past 80 years by visiting their now iconic landscapes. He tours former power stations and abandoned testing sites in the company of scientists and engineers, and in previously toxic wastelands, where radioactive wolves now stalk the streets and genetically-malformed flora blooms, he witnesses the surprising resilience of nature. As well as the physical legacy, Pearce also considers the psychological impact of these disasters. Amid rumours of state cover-ups, corporate deception, and hushed-up medical epidemics, Pearce weighs the evidence on either side of the argument to disentangle the facts from the fear.
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Dispatches from Dystopia

Histories of Places Not Yet Forgotten

Author: Kate Brown

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022624279X

Category: History

Page: 198

View: 1916

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The author "wanders the Chernobyl Zone of Alienation, first on the Internet and then in person, to figure out which version -- the real or the virtual -- is the actual forgery. She also takes us to the basement of a hotel in Seattle to examine the personal possessions left in storage by Japanese Americans on their way to internment camps in 1942. In Uman, Ukraine, we hide with Brown in a tree in order to witness the male-only Rosh Hashanah celebration of Hasidic Jews. In the Russian southern Urals, she speaks with the citizens of the small city of Kyshtym, where invisible radioactive pollutants have mysteriously blighted lives. Finally, Brown returns home to Elgin, Illinois, in the industrial rust belt, to investigate the rise of "rustalgia" and the ways her formative experiences have inspired her obsession with modernist wastelands."--Jacket flap.
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