HPS202H1 Lecture Notes - Nuclear Power, United States Congress Joint Committee On Atomic Energy, Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant

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Published on 1 Dec 2011
History and Philosophy of Science and Technology
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
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
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
1970s development of national and international anti-nuclear groups
anti-nuclear as anti-progress
developed from group formed to protest testing of nuclear weapons in Alaska in early
sailed to Amchitka island in attempt to protest test by witnessing, being present at
event as form of protest
Thursday, December 1, 2011
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