Plutopia

Plutopia

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

Book - 2013
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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 nuclearfamilies 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 "staginggrounds" 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 Maiakplant 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 anddownriver 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 thepromises 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.
Publisher: Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013
ISBN: 9780199855766
0199855765
Characteristics: x, 406 p. : ill. ; 25 cm

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BlueMoonGirl
Apr 17, 2014

Chilling look at the nuclear industry in this country (Hanford) and in Russia. Both use their citizens as guinea pigs. Very interesting read.

k
kepicturewoman
Aug 03, 2013

This is a must read for anyone interested in the consequences of the nuclear bomb in both the Soviet Union and United States. Kate Brown tells the story of the people as well as historic documentation from volumes of records for both Hanford and Maiak. It is an intriguing story. Every person working on the clean up of Hanford needs to read this excellent book.

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