AUTHORMason, Bobbie Ann
TITLEFallout: Paducah's Secret Nuclear Disaster
PERIODICAL TITLEThe New Yorker
DATE PUBLISHED2000
VOLUME NUMBERn/a
ISSUE NUMBERJanuary 10
PAGE NUMBERS30-36
ISSN0028-792X
Web Access
Available online from The New Yorker   (fee or subscription required)


In this article, a journalist who grew up near Paducah, Kentucky, visits the site of a gaseous diffussion plant for enriching uranium to investigate residents' attitudes toward the Paducah plant. Her visit came soon after national and regional papers had publicized the revelation that former plant operators had defrauded the U.S. government by hiding knowledge of widespread radioactive contamination from uranium and plutonium. Interspersed with interviews of the people and descriptions of the place are the facts about its contamination. Her interviews with former plant workers reveal that they were unaware of hazards and that, when confronted with the knowledge of the dangers, they simply accepted them as risks associated with their jobs.They viewed the plant as a good neighbor providing economic benefits and and felt that they were contributing to the good of the nation. The plant, built in 1952, produced enriched uranium for nuclear weapons and later for nuclear power plants. The author ponders why the workers and community members still remain passive to the threats to their health and environment. She muses that perhaps as members of an agrarian culture, they routinely "forgive the forces they cannot control" (p.36).


Find in a Library with

creative commons - some rights reserved
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.