Drawing from history, science, and popular culture, author Steve Olson reveals the many influences of nuclear materials on WA State, and the ways our state has been a pioneer in the atomic age.
Washington State has been at the very center of the nuclear era ever since the Hanford nuclear reservation was built during World War II to produce plutonium for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki.
But Washington State’s role in the nuclear era ranges far beyond the construction, operation, and ongoing cleanup of Hanford. A nuclear reactor near the Tri-Cities supplies 10 percent of our electricity; radioactive substances are used in a variety of medical and industrial applications; and Naval Base Kitsap on Hood Canal has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons deployed anywhere in the world.
Steve Olson, who graduated from high school in Pierce County, is the author most recently of The Apocalypse Factory: Plutonium and the Making of the Atomic Age. His books have been nominated in several local and national book awards, and he has been a consultant writer for the National Academy of Sciences, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and other national scientific organizations.
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