Página InicialGruposDiscussãoMaisZeitgeist
Pesquisar O Sítio Web
Este sítio web usa «cookies» para fornecer os seus serviços, para melhorar o desempenho, para analítica e (se não estiver autenticado) para publicidade. Ao usar o LibraryThing está a reconhecer que leu e compreende os nossos Termos de Serviço e Política de Privacidade. A sua utilização deste sítio e serviços está sujeita a essas políticas e termos.
Hide this

Resultados dos Livros Google

Carregue numa fotografia para ir para os Livros Google.

A carregar...

Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and…

por Kate Brown

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1259170,927 (4.08)15
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.… (mais)
A carregar...

Adira ao LibraryThing para descobrir se irá gostar deste livro.

Ainda não há conversas na Discussão sobre este livro.

» Ver também 15 menções

Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
A detailed comparison of two plutonium plants; one in Richland, Washington and the other in Ozersk, Russia. The author scrupulously avoids any political commentary on either the Soviet or the U.S. governments but adheres strictly to describing the life of citizens living in two similar cities located near accident prone plutonium plants producing plutonium (a dangerous material) during the Cold War.) The author chose to compare nuclear security, atomic intelligence, and radioactive hazard between the two cities rather than ideologies, and ultimately concludes the American plutopia. because it was richer did not have as much to lose as the Russian plutopia. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 6, 2019 |
"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” These were Oppenheimer’s oft-quoted recitation of the Bhagavad Gita following the first nuclear weapons test in New Mexico in 1946, Trinity.

There are two kinds of death: regenerative death—such as the microbial decomposition of plant matter which creates a rich humus for new life, and degenerative death—the sort that saps the vibrancy from living systems. Fission products (the refuse from nuclear fission, such as those resultant from plutonium production, atomic bombs, and nuclear accidents) contribute to the latter.

Unlike many deadly hazards, such as fire, our bodies have no significant reaction or awareness to radioactivity until we’ve received extremely high doses, such as the kind that result in radiation poisoning. For me, this make them both fascinating and scary.

I came across this book when reading a chapter in Michael Lewis’ “Fifth Risk” on the Department of Energy, and the fact that it oversees the US nuclear arsenal. Having grown up within the fallout radius of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, I’ve had a personal interest in learning more about this world.

The author, Brown, is a Professor of History at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In this book, she tracks the parallel histories of Hanford (near Richland in Washington State), and Mayak (near Ozyersk in the Ural Mountains of Russia). These were the first two sites in the world to produce plutonium, supplying materials necessary for the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as well as the nuclear arms race of the Cold War. Brown chose a somewhat surprising angle, choosing to focus on social ironies and parallels of the two projects. The title, “Plutopia,” refers to a utopia created by plutonium production. Although employees in both facilities received higher pay than locals in the surrounding area, any wish of a utopia was dashed by the chronic exposure to radiation and the resultant diseases.

I read this book as a process of mourning of the practically eternal damage we’ve done to our peoples and ecosystems through radioactive pollution. Plutonium 239—the sort produced at Hanford and the Mayak plant—has a half-life of 24,110 years. 13.5% of fission products have a half-life exceeding 1.5 million years. In other words, much of the radioactive pollution we’ve created will endure on a geological time scale.

The book illustrates an impossible logic under which our governments operate on a daily basis. The only way to justify the immeasurable loss of life and vitality caused by plutonium production was the threat of loosing a nuclear war. Both projects have permanently contaminated thousands of square miles of land and water bodies.

In high doses, radiation leads to painful death. At moderate doses, radiation leads to leukemia, failure of the thyroid, autoimmune disorders, as well as numerous other ailments. At low doses, radiation leads to infertility and genetic mutation, resultant in genetic mutations and physiological disfigurement in offspring.

How did the USSR and United States manage unmanageable risks?

In the US, we hired corporations to run plutonium production, beginning with DuPont, followed by GE, followed by a series of other entities. When corporate and government scientists found that the plant was resulting in unaffordable environmental costs, they hired new scientists to produce new studies refuting those claims.

In Russia, they just didn’t tell anyone. Hundreds of thousands of villagers lived in deadly zones for decades without any assistance.

How did these governments run these projects?

Both were highly secretive. We failed to be secretive enough, in that Russians nuclear program directly copied our blueprints, rather than developing their own methods.

In the USSR, Mayak was run by the Gulag, which had 5 million prisoners at the end of World War II and employed one quarter of non-agricultural workers. Whereas in the US, we had some semblance of precaution, the USSR was able to burn through hundreds of thousands of soldiers and prisoners without even the most basic safety measures. The fate of this class of workers is poorly documented and likely atrocious.

Ultimately, our nuclear projects were morally repugnant, and their results be with us for the indefinite future. If you’re looking to bask in every detail of this misery, “Plutopia” is an excellent book on the subject. ( )
1 vote willszal | Jan 1, 2019 |
A somewhat rambling account of how the United States and the Soviet Union both managed to create planned communities that embodied the apparent public virtues (and the actual social prejudices) of their respective societies, which at the same time put a public relations band-aid on the running sore of the radioactive pollution these sites were producing; to the point that the favored inhabitants of these regions were loathed to give up their privileges even as their way of life was destroying the health of them and their loved ones. Frankly, Leslie Groves and his NKVD counterparts would preferred to have simply built installations with all the living amenities of a third-rate military post to save resources, but these projects took on a life of their own once the actual controllers of the means of production took over day-to-day operations; if only to make living in an area cut off from the wider culture look attractive to the high-level managers and skilled upper crust of the onsite workforce. While gaffs like how the author refers, at one point, to a "navy" general can make one's eyes roll the basic depressing point remains that even if the powers-that-be had had a better sense of the dangers that they were playing with you know that they would have still gone forward with these projects. ( )
  Shrike58 | Jul 1, 2018 |
In Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters, Kate Brown writes, “To entice workers to agree to the risks and sacrifices involved in plutonium production, American and Soviet nuclear leaders created something new – plutopia. Plutopia’s unique, limited-access, aspirational communities satisfied most desires of American and Soviet postwar societies. The orderly prosperity of plutopia led most eyewitnesses to overlook the radioactive waste mounting around them” (pg. 4). She continues, “As the Cold War promises of affluence, upward mobility, and the freedom to consume materialized in plutopia, anxious residents gradually came to trust their leaders, the safety of their plants, and the rightness of their national cause. As plutopia matured, residents gave up their civil and biological rights for consumer rights” (pg. 5). Brown takes a transnational approach in her examination, writing, “I place the plutonium communities alongside each other to show how plutonium bound lives together across the Cold War divide. I suggest that the world’s first plutonium cities shared common features, which transcended political ideology and national culture and were derived from nuclear security, atomic intelligence, and radioactive hazards” (pg. 8).
Describing the founding of the American plutopia, Brown writes, “New Deal social welfare went against the grain of DuPont corporate ideology, but government spending that promoted business, generated profits for deserving parties, and preserved unspoken class divisions – that was the desired future, and in planning the city of Richland DuPont executives sought forcefully to push this vision along” (pg. 39). Further, “In insisting on middle-class housing, DuPont executives argued that only a community united in middle-class abundance would deliver plutonium safely and securely. Yet to run the vast plant they had to stock Richland with working people. So they simply called the proletariat ‘middle-class’ and in that way co-opted it. The scheme worked. Although Richland was a city with a working-class majority until the 1960s, it was seen and is remembered as a middle-class town of scientists and engineers, a homogeneous, monoclass society” (pg. 51). To this end, “The desire to keep the government-stimulated communities alive led residents to blithely exchange the possible dangers of radioactive contamination for the certainties of growing prosperity, bankrolled by an expanding federal government, which, as they grew more dependent on it, they politically derided” (pg. 132). In this culture, “The expanding industrial wealth of the West alongside the personally increasing prosperity of the American working class joined at a point where science, technology, and culture bolstered one another to send a message of competence, expertise, and trust” (pg. 221).
Brown writes of the Soviet plutopia, “Like their American counterparts, Soviet leaders also created a community of select plutonium workers secured both physically and financially, which was orbited by lesser communities of workers, prisoners, and soldiers, servicing both plutopia and the spreading radioactive contamination flowing from the plant. The Stalinist regime may seem like it was ready-made for the kind of surveillance, submission, and obedience demanded by the nuclear security state. But that was not the case. Due to sheer poverty and disorganization, it took more than a decade to build the first Soviet plutopia, and it cost the nation dearly” (pg. 75). Addressing popular misconceptions, Brown writes, “There are two problems with the equation of the mature, closed nuclear city with the Gulag. First, Soviet leaders and construction managers like General Rapoport were so taken up in the first two years with organizing a colossal nuclear infrastructure amidst the postwar ruin that they largely forgot about security and secrecy. Second, despite the popular image of a Soviet labor camp as a place of totalitarian order and control, where prisoners meekly submitted to the power of guards and wardens, that reputation is grandly mythical” (pg. 92). In this way, “Party leaders agreed that the best way to keep employees was to tempt them with urban magnificence” (pg. 214). This led to a situation where residents living under advanced socialism were no longer socialist and demanded ever more opulence. Brown writes, “Peace, contentment, and tranquility reigned in Ozersk, this major front of the Cold War, as if it had slipped the collective mind that the city existed to produce plutonium, not the other way round – that plutonium’s existence was there to ensure the city’s prosperity” (pg. 267).
Turning to disasters and the example of Chernobyl, Brown writes, “Most liquidators in Ukraine had no idea that Chernobyl was not the nation’s first disaster or that, from a scientific perspective, there was little that was new in the Chernobyl cleanup. The emergency actions in Ukraine had all played out before in 1951, 1953, 1955, 1957, and 1967 in the Urals” (pg. 284). The difference was that, “as nuclear catastrophe laid waste to the assurances that Soviet leaders and Soviet science would protect and defend its citizens, [Head of the Soviet Committee for Atomic Energy A.M.] Petrosiants failed to see that Chernobyl’s greatest victim would be the Soviet state” (pg. 286). Brown concludes, “The effects of radiation on health remain highly controversial, as the continuing debate about the effects of Chernobyl demonstrates; estimates of deaths from the accident range from thirty-seven to a quarter of a million. The controversy is not surprising. I have argued in this history that highly controlled medical research on the effects of radioactive isotopes on human bodies manufactured knowledge, doubt, and dissent in a way that created a gulf of opinions. But there also existed a strange lack of curiosity” (pg. 332). Further, “Plutopia’s spatial compartmentalization appeared natural because it mirrored divisions in Soviet and American society between free and unfree labor, between majority white and minority nonwhite populations, and often between those people thought to be safe and those left in the path of radiation” (pg. 334). ( )
  DarthDeverell | Dec 9, 2017 |
"We are all citizens of Plutopia."

This book presents the parallel stories of Richland Washington, near the Hanford nuclear facility, and Ozersk in the former Soviet Union, the first two cities in the world to produce plutonium for the nuclear arms race. Parts I and II discuss the creation of the two production facilities. Part III discusses the effects of plutonium production on people and the environment, including the environmental catastrophes which occurred at both these sites. Part IV discusses the aftermath of the contamination.

Both communities were reserved for the elite employees and their families, and were highly subsidized and had limited access. Both cities had adjacent areas where migrants, soldiers, and, in the case of Ozersk, prisoners lived. These were the workers who performed many of the more menial and more dangerous tasks in the production of plutonium.

The nuclear accidents, leaks, and deliberate dumps that have occurred at both facilities over the years are truly horrifying. Over the years these plants have issued radioactive isotopes exceeding that released by multiple Chernobyls, and both areas are ongoing environmental disasters.

This was an important look at Cold War history, as well as the enormous environmental cost of the nuclear arms race. Anyone who thinks nuclear power is the answer to the energy crisis should read this book.

3 1/2 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | May 2, 2016 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
sem críticas | adicionar uma crítica
Tem de autenticar-se para poder editar dados do Conhecimento Comum.
Para mais ajuda veja a página de ajuda do Conhecimento Comum.
Título canónico
Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
Título original
Títulos alternativos
Data da publicação original
Pessoas/Personagens
Locais importantes
Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
Acontecimentos importantes
Filmes relacionados
Prémios e menções honrosas
Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
Epígrafe
Dedicatória
Primeiras palavras
Citações
Últimas palavras
Nota de desambiguação
Editores da Editora
Autores de citações elogiosas (normalmente na contracapa do livro)
Língua original
Informação do Conhecimento Comum em inglês. Edite para a localizar na sua língua.
DDC/MDS canónico

Referências a esta obra em recursos externos.

Wikipédia em inglês (2)

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.

Não foram encontradas descrições de bibliotecas.

Descrição do livro
Resumo Haiku

Ligações Rápidas

Capas populares

Avaliação

Média: (4.08)
0.5
1
1.5
2 1
2.5
3 1
3.5 2
4 8
4.5 1
5 5

É você?

Torne-se num Autor LibraryThing.

 

Acerca | Contacto | LibraryThing.com | Privacidade/Termos | Ajuda/Perguntas Frequentes | Blogue | Loja | APIs | TinyCat | Bibliotecas Legadas | Primeiros Críticos | Conhecimento Comum | 160,247,560 livros! | Barra de topo: Sempre visível