Item Details

Plutopia [electronic resource]: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters

Kate Brown
Format
EBook; Book; Online
Published
Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013.
Language
English
ISBN
9780199855773, 0199855773, 9780199855766, 0199855765
Summary
"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."--Publisher's website.
Contents
  • Part I. Incarcerated space and Western nuclear frontiers
  • Mr. Matthias goes to Washington
  • Labor on the lam
  • Labor shortage
  • Defending the nation
  • The city plutonium built
  • Work and the women left holding plutonium
  • Hazards
  • The food chain
  • Of flies, mice and men
  • Part II. The Soviet working class atom and the American response
  • The arrest of a journal
  • The Gulag and the bomb
  • The Bronze Age atom
  • Keeping secrets
  • Beria's visit
  • Reporting for duty
  • Empire of calamity
  • "A few good men" : in pursuit of America's permanent war economy
  • Stalin's rocket engine : rewarding the plutonium people
  • Big Brother in the American heartland
  • Neighbors
  • The vodka society
  • Part III. The plutonium disasters
  • Managing a risk society
  • The walking wounded
  • Two autopsies
  • Wahluke Slope : into harm's way
  • Quiet flows the Techa
  • Resettlement
  • The zone of immunity
  • The socialist consumers' republic
  • The uses of an open society
  • The Kyshtym belch, 1957
  • Karabolka, beyond the zone
  • Private parts
  • "From crabs to caviar, we had everything"
  • Part IV. Dismantling the plutonium curtain
  • Plutonium into portfolio shares
  • Chernobyl redux
  • 1984
  • The forsaken
  • Sick people
  • Cassandra in coveralls
  • Nuclear glasnost
  • All the kings' men
  • Futures.
Description
1 online resource (x, 406 pages) : illustrations
Notes
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Logo for Copyright Not EvaluatedCopyright Not Evaluated
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic

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    a| Part I. Incarcerated space and Western nuclear frontiers -- Mr. Matthias goes to Washington -- Labor on the lam -- Labor shortage -- Defending the nation -- The city plutonium built -- Work and the women left holding plutonium -- Hazards -- The food chain -- Of flies, mice and men -- Part II. The Soviet working class atom and the American response -- The arrest of a journal -- The Gulag and the bomb -- The Bronze Age atom -- Keeping secrets -- Beria's visit -- Reporting for duty -- Empire of calamity -- "A few good men" : in pursuit of America's permanent war economy -- Stalin's rocket engine : rewarding the plutonium people -- Big Brother in the American heartland -- Neighbors -- The vodka society -- Part III. The plutonium disasters -- Managing a risk society -- The walking wounded -- Two autopsies -- Wahluke Slope : into harm's way -- Quiet flows the Techa -- Resettlement -- The zone of immunity -- The socialist consumers' republic -- The uses of an open society -- The Kyshtym belch, 1957 -- Karabolka, beyond the zone -- Private parts -- "From crabs to caviar, we had everything" -- Part IV. Dismantling the plutonium curtain -- Plutonium into portfolio shares -- Chernobyl redux -- 1984 -- The forsaken -- Sick people -- Cassandra in coveralls -- Nuclear glasnost -- All the kings' men -- Futures.
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