The Infamous History of the Atomic Age – east and west of the Atlantic!

It’s one year after the disastrous events happened in the to this date rather unknown town of Fukushima, Japan. A chain reaction caused by an earthquake that led to a nuclear incident. Many people learn from mistakes and tragedy. Others are trying to forget and holding back the full truth.

The German TV magazine “Titel, Thesen, Temperamente” (on the ARD channel) recently looked back to the history of mankind after discovering atomic energy. It’s hilarious, frightening and unbelievable at the same time.

There were some rather strange ideas in the history of atomic energy in the 1950s. Opportunities evolved after scientists discovered the power of atomic energy. It was discussed to use plutonium in batteries for cardiac pacemakers or to power cars with it. That in deed became reality for submarines, for example.

Ever heard of the Russian town Murmansk?[Its] port […] remains ice-free year round due to the warm North Atlantic Current and is an important fishing and shipping destination. It is home port to Atomflot, the world’s only fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers.

Some older submarines are there, too. Rusting in the Baltic Sea. “During the Cold War Murmansk was a center of Soviet submarine and icebreaker activity and, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the nearby city and naval base of Severomorsk remains the headquarters of the Russian Northern Fleet.” [source]

But the Cold War also ruled politics on the west side of the Atlantic. The United States were testing their atomic abilities and bombs on their homeground – totally underestimating the dangers…?

In 1956 “The Conqueror”, a film starring John Wayne as the Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan, was shot on location near St. George, Utah. “[That is] 137 miles (220 kilometres) downwind of the United States government’s Nevada Test Site. In 1953, extensive above-ground nuclear weapons testing occurred at the test site.

The Conqueror was a critical and commercial failure (often ranked as one of the worst films of the 1950s and one of the worst ever) and became famous for the many people of the film crew who suffered from cancer afterwards. Around 90 people of the 200 people crew were ill in the aftermath. John Wayne died in 1979 from stomach cancer. [source]

Below a small piece of the movie (uploaded by YouTuber kfisher6) showing the desert where the movie was shot:

 

Some more stories: Fusion bombs were a handy tool to dig holes or even build canals. There was a plan to build a canal in Egypt in the early 1970s – from the Mediterranean Sea to the Qattara Depression in Lybia. Mostly “built” with fusion bombs. [source]

So Fukushima is just another negative milestone in history. Another disaster in the constant struggle of mankind and atomic energy. So if mankind “wins” most of the time, just one failure has far-reaching consequences. After the nuclear fusion in Chernobyl in the 1980s people still suffer from its impact. Scientists once said, that after a few decades people can come back living in the contaminated areas…

For the most recent news about atomic energy go to the atomic power plant of Brunsbuettel in northern Germany. Recently
some old and rusty barrels were found that were destined to contain nuclear waste… [source]

What’s your opinion? What are your pros or cons?

Additional reading:

Japan One Year After The Earthquake (by Japan and Korea: Life, Language and Religion)

 

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