Nuclear Lessons

Barbara Rose Johnston and Hugh Gusterson ponder nuclear realities at the Bulletin of the Atomic Sciences

Barbara Rose Johnston:

Radiation is invisible, how do you know when you are in danger? How long will this danger persist? How can you reduce the hazard to yourself and family? What level of exposure is safe? How do you get access to vital information in time to prevent or minimize exposure? What are the potential risks of acute and chronic exposures? What are the related consequential damages of exposure? Whose information do you trust? How do you rebuild a healthy way of life in the aftermath of nuclear disaster?

Hugh Gusterson:

As an anthropologist, I am always interested in what humans learn from their mistakes. Can humans change their behavior, thereby improving their chances of survival, not just through natural selection, but also through cultural learning? Or are we hardwired to repeat our mistakes over and over, like humanoid lemmings?

More to the point, what lessons will we learn from the nuclear accident at Fukushima, an accident thought to be impossible just two weeks ago?

In this nuclear world, what is the meaning of ‘safe’?

The lessons of Fukushima

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