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June 2005
368 pages  

6 1/8 x 9 1/4
9780822958819
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Red Atom
Russia’s Nuclear Power Program from Stalin to Today
Josephson , Paul
Reveals the history and death of the Soviet Union’s peaceful use of nuclear power through exploration of both the projects and the technocratic and political elite who were dedicated to increasing state power through technology. Paul Josephson illuminates the problems that can befall any society heavily invested in large-scale technology.

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Paul R. Josephson is associate professor of history at Colby College.
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Pitt Series in Russian and East European Studies Table of Contents
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In the 1950s, Soviet nuclear scientists and leaders imagined a stunning future when giant reactors would generate energy quickly and cheaply, nuclear engines would power cars, ships, and airplanes, and peaceful nuclear explosions would transform the landscape. Driven by the energy of the atom, the dream of communism would become a powerful reality. Thirty years later, that dream died in Chernobyl. What went wrong? Based on exhaustive archival research and interviews, Red Atom takes a behind-the-scenes look at the history of the Soviet Union's peaceful use of nuclear power. It explores both the projects and the technocratic and political elite who were dedicated to increasing state power through technology. And it describes the political, economic, and environmental fallout of Chernobyl. A story of big science run amok, Red Atom illuminates the problems that can befall any society heavily invested in large-scale technology.
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"Based on an extensive review of Soviet-era archives, [Red Atom] shows that nonmilitary use of nuclear power was like many areas of cold war competition: an avenue for the participants to go to illogical extremes. . . . Impressive in its sweep, and it provides essential details about an industry that has outlived its creators yet."—The New York Times

"Could there be another Chernobyl? . . . Red Atom is both a history and a warning—and a bitter indictment of an industry that was once thought to be the ‘radiant’ path to the future."—Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

“An intriguing history of a scientific and social disaster in the making.”--Internet Bookwatch


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