Project Plowshare: The Peaceful Use Of Nuclear Explosives In Cold War America by Scott KaufmanProject Plowshare: The Peaceful Use Of Nuclear Explosives In Cold War America by Scott Kaufman

Project Plowshare: The Peaceful Use Of Nuclear Explosives In Cold War America

byScott Kaufman

Hardcover | November 27, 2012

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Inspired by President Dwight D. Eisenhower's "Atoms for Peace" speech, scientists at the Atomic Energy Commission and the University of California's Radiation Laboratory began in 1957 a program they called Plowshare. Joined by like-minded government officials, scientists, and business leaders, champions of "peaceful nuclear explosions" maintained that they could create new elements and isotopes for general use, build storage facilities for water or fuel, mine ores, increase oil and natural gas production, generate heat for power production, and construct roads, harbors, and canals. By harnessing the power of the atom for nonmilitary purposes, Plowshare backers expected to protect American security, defend U.S. legitimacy and prestige, and ensure access to energy resources.

Scott Kaufman’s extensive research in nearly two dozen archives in three nations shows how science, politics, and environmentalism converged to shape the lasting conflict over the use of nuclear technology. Indeed, despite technological and strategic promise, Plowshare’s early champions soon found themselves facing a vocal and powerful coalition of federal and state officials, scientists, industrialists, environmentalists, and average citizens. Skeptical politicians, domestic and international pressure to stop nuclear testing, and a lack of government funding severely restricted the program. By the mid-1970s, Plowshare was, in the words of one government official, “dead as a doornail.” However, the thought of using the atom for peaceful purposes remains alive.

Scott Kaufman is Professor of History and Co-Director of the Robert E. McNair Center for Government and History at Francis Marion University. He is the author of several books, including Plans Unraveled: The Foreign Policy of the Carter Administration and The Pig War: The United States, Britain, and the Balance of Power in the Pacifi...
Title:Project Plowshare: The Peaceful Use Of Nuclear Explosives In Cold War AmericaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:312 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:November 27, 2012Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801451256

ISBN - 13:9780801451256

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Promoting the Peaceful Atom

1. A Plan of Biblical Proportions

2. Just Drop Us a Card

3. A Program on Hold

4. From Moratorium to Test Ban

5. The Complexities of Canal Construction

6. Nuclear Testing, Nonproliferation, and Plowshare

7. Making Headway?

8. Plowshare Goes Down Under

9. Dead as a Doornail

Conclusion: Back from the Dead?


Editorial Reviews

"Project Plowshare recovers a fascinating but forgotten strand of Cold War history, when the idea of nuclear explosions conjured up not only death and destruction but a future of technological achievement and progress toward peace and disarmament. In deft, fast-paced writing that draws on extraordinarily wide research, Scott Kaufman recreates the extraordinary vision of Plowshare proponents and their allies in Congress and the private sector, showing how their prospects and ultimate failure were shaped by politics and science, fear and hope, economics and Cold War competition. For anyone interested in the future of the planet, Project Plowshare's rise and fall offers salient lessons about unintended consequences, technological hubris, and balancing risk and promise."—Barbara Keys, University of Melbourne, author of Globalizing Sport: National Rivalry and International Community in the 1930s