"Energy Utopia or Dystopia? A Historical Perspective on Nuclear Energy"

from Multimedia Library Collection:
Exploring Environmental History (podcasts)

Oosthoek, Jan. “Podcast 41: Energy utopia or dystopia? A historical perspective on nuclear energy.” Exploring Environmental History podcast, 7 April 2011. MP3, 26.35. http://www.eh-resources.org/podcast/podcast2011.html.

Horace Herring reveals that there are more than just environmental and health issues at play where the reception of nuclear energy is concerned. He argues that a deep-rooted ambivalence to new technologies in general along with the complex social and economic roots of oppostition to nuclear energy all have to be taken into account. This provides the basis for a nuanced treatment of scientific and public perceptions of nuclear energy drawing on a diverse range of sources. It is shown that utopian and dystopian aspects of nuclear technologies have often been simultaneously close at hand and not only during the moment in which the promise of a panacea to deal with global warming was all but shattered by sudden disaster revealing hidden risks.

Energy Utopia or Dystopia? A Historical Perspective on Nuclear Energy (18.27 MB)

Music credit: “Loveless” by Caster Seven

Exploring Environmental History podcasts are periodic programmes featuring interviews with people working in the field, reports on conferences and discussions about the use and methods of environmental history. They are posted on the Environmental History Resources website, which is maintained by Jan Oosthoek.

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Further readings: 
  • Herring, Horace. From Energy Dreams to Nuclear Nightmares: Lessons for the 21st Century from a Previous Nuclear Era. Charlbury: Jon Carpenter, 2005.
  • "Lessons from the Past." Nature 471 (31 March 2011): 547. View article. doi:10.1038/471547a
  • Peplow, Mark. “Chernobyl's Legacy.” Nature 471 (2011): 562–565. doi:10.1038/471562a. View article