Cleaning Up the Bomb Factory
Grassroots Activism and Nuclear Waste in the Midwest
- PUBLISHED: April 2024
- SUBJECT LISTING: Environmental Studies, History / American History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 272 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 15 b&w illus., 2 maps
- SERIES: Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books
- ISBN: 9780295752556
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
In 1984, a uranium leak at Ohio’s outdated Fernald Feed Materials Production Center highlighted the decades of harm inflicted on Cold War communities by negligent radioactive waste disposal. Casey A. Huegel tells the story of the unlikely partnership of grassroots activists, regulators, union workers, and politicians that responded to the event with a new kind of environmental movement. The community group Fernald Residents for Environmental Safety and Health (FRESH) drew on the expertise of national organizations while maintaining its autonomy and focus on Fernald. Leveraging local patriotism and employment concerns, FRESH recruited blue-collar allies into an innovative program that fought for both local jobs and a healthier environment. Fernald’s transformation into a nature reserve with an on-site radioactive storage facility reflected the political compromises that left waste sites improved yet imperfect. At the same time, FRESH’s outsized influence transformed how the government scaled down the Cold War weapons complex, enforced health and safety standards, and reckoned with the immense environmental legacy of the nuclear arms race. A compelling history of environmental mobilization, Cleaning Up the Bomb Factory details the diverse goals and mixed successes of a groundbreaking activist movement.
Authors & Contributors
Casey A. Huegel is an adjunct professor of environmental studies at the University of Cincinnati and a public historian with the National Park Service.
"Joins recent scholarship on Pantex and Oakridge in reshaping the map of the US nuclear industrial complex during the Cold War and in so doing better reveals the complicated role of nuclear protest to the evolution of American environmentalism."- Andrew Kirk, author of Doom Towns: The People and Landscapes of Atomic Testing
"Drawing on an impressive array of sources, Cleaning Up the Bomb Factory is a gripping tale of one community’s demands that we, as a nation, reckon with the damage wrought by the creation of the sprawling nuclear weapons complex. This book is a must read for scholars and others interested in the long and deep reach of the Cold War."- Kari Frederickson, author of Deep South Dynasty: The Bankheads of Alabama