HPS202 Greenpeace

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University of Toronto St. George
History and Philosophy of Science and Technology

HPS202 Thursday, December 1, 2011 1960s Nuclear Bandwagon • commercial companies all rush to create nuclear generating plants • between 1965 and 1967 various utility companies placed orders for 50 nuclear plants • safety research lagged behind production as JCAE divert funds to studying other potential reactor types • most nuclear disasters caused from steam explosion 1970s Growing industry and doubts • popular feeling began to turn against nuclear power as problems of waste storage became obvious and series of accidents called into question the safety of reactors • safety review of nuclear power plants comes out 1974 stating plants safety measures perfectly adequate to prevent radiation leakage or core meltdown • 1975 the newly opened Browns Ferry station almost melts down when fire knocks out most of the systems • continued expansion but slowing, by 1979 there were 72 reactors operational in US producing 12% of national electricity Popular Response 40s and 50s • strong post war association between nuclear power and weapons around world, mixed reactions • movies like Godzilla tapped into massive cultural unease about affects of nuclear weapons and radiation (1954 Japan, 1954 US) • popular sci-fi writers (Asimov, Heinlein, von Vogt) used nuclear power to represent progress and future of tech, works tapped into and reinforced view of atomic power as progress • AEC played on positive image of nuclear power by pushing Atoms for Peace program Beginnings of Resistance 60s and 70s • begin with local resistance to placing nuclear plants near population centers or watersheds late 50s and early 60s • gains momentum from birth of environmental movement in early 60s • resistance to specific nuclear plants became one of many causes supported by environmentalists • 1970s development of national and international anti-nuclear groups • anti-nuclear as
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