My Image

Why Wildlife Returning to Chernobyl Tells Us Almost Nothing

Several years ago, I was speaking with a prominent Anthropocene scholar in Uppsala, Sweden. We were in disagreement about the risks to the environment of nuclear power. For both of us, Chernobyl was part of making our case to each other. He told me that if the radiation around Chernobyl was so dangerous, it would not now be as full of returning wildlife as it has become. Animals are becoming more abundant there, he explained, so it shows that things are not as dangerous in the Exclusion Zone as

Read More

The Birth of Nuclear Power in the Manhattan Project: CP-1 and Hanford

Nuclear power plants were developed as part of a large project working to kill human beings. They were born violent. Whatever one thinks of nuclear power, their origins were not beneficent. This talk examines that history.Lecture delivered at the Hiroshima Peace Institute on 11 January 2019, introducing framing mechanisms for my upcoming journal article.Note: misstatement that PU-239 comes from U-235 rather than

Read More

What Holocaust Survivors Told Me When I was Growing Up

I grew up in a non-descript, older suburb on the Northern border of Chicago named Skokie. No one who isn’t from the area should even know the name of Skokie, but probably many of you do. Skokie was 58% Jewish when I was growing up there in the 60s and 70s, the largest percentage of any Chicago suburb, and included in that number was over 8,000 Holocaust survivors. Many of my friend’s parents and extended family (that had survived) were Holocaust survivors. My neighborhood was almost entirely

Read More

Slaughtering Children with Nuclear Weapons

During the two nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many thousands of children were killed. In Hiroshima, where I live, many schools have memorials to the students and teachers that were killed during the nuclear attacks. Some have preserved small sections of the school as they were on the day of the attack. Here are photos of two schools, one in Hiroshima and one in Nagasaki, taken by the United States Strategic Bombing Survey team in the autumn of

Read More

Bringing a Gameboy to a Total War

So often we hear, quite accurately, that the Democratic Party in the United States brings a “knife to a gun fight” in its political battles with the rival Republican Party. As an American, in the aftermath of the Kavanaugh nightmare, I want to remind everyone that these very same people—who proclaim that a man who is clearly in a rage tornado with no tangible compassion for the pain of others to be a paragon of decency and the real victim—are the people we have to rely on to soberly and

Read More

Podcast interview about the book "Reimagining Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Nuclear Humanities in the Post-Cold War"

Earlier this year I published a co-edited book with Nico Taylor on nuclear humanities in the post-Cold War world, with Routledge Press. The book argues that nuclear scholarship has shifted in the post-Cold War era and is, in many ways, freed from its earlier sense that it should somehow contribute to waking people up to the threat of nuclear war, and help save the world. A tall order for academics in any field. We argue that the end of the Cold War has liberated nuclear scholarship to re-assess

Read More

Pay no attention to that radiological disaster behind the curtains

The government of Japan is clearly intending that the 2020 Olympics will function as a public relations win in which the image of Japan, and especially of Northern Japan and Fukushima are cleansed of images of radiological contamination. Even as the Fukushima Daiichi site itself, and the traces where the plumes of its explosions deposited fallout throughout the area remain un-remediated, the public perceptions will be remediated. This is typical of the behavior of governments in the developed

Read More

Trisha Pritikin talks about growing up in the shadow (and plumes) of Hanford

Trisha Pritikin is a native of Richland, Washington, the bedroom community for the professional class employees of the Hanford plutonium production facility of the US government in Eastern Washington. Hanford is where the first nuclear power plants on Earth were built in the 1940s. These plants were built to manufacture plutonium for the Manhattan Project, and subsequently for the bulk of the US nuclear arsenal throughout the Cold War. The production of plutonium, and specifically the

Read More

August 6th Morning in Hiroshima

Here are photos from this morning in front of the A-Bomb Dome here in Hiroshima. The ceremony inside the Peace Park is very calm and sombre. However, at the A-Bomb Dome, which is technically outside of the park, it is always much more contentious and full of conflict and activity. There are always speakers talking about peace issues, criticizing the Abe government, arguing against nuclear power and weapons, and also there are always right wingers screaming at the peace activists, and Buddhist

Read More

Unbearable Heat in Hiroshima as August 6th Approaches

This has been a summer of disasters here in Hiroshima. The horrible rains and mudslides that killed so many a few weeks ago gave way to an unbearable heat wave that has also killed many and has been making moving around in town quite difficult. Forecasts for Monday, the anniversary of the nuclear attack here, are for very high heat and UV, 37 degrees Celsius (98 Fahrenheit). The ceremony starts filling up with people at about 7 am with the anniversary of the moment of the nuclear detonation

Read More

Global Hibakusha on Twitter