Nevada's nuclear legacy featured in book; lectures today and Thursday in Minden and Carson City
Submitted by editor on Wed, 11/17/2010 - 2:06am
If you place X's on a map of Nevada to mark areas used for nuclear testing and O's to mark areas examined as potential nuclear sites, you end up with a tic-tac-toe game board in the shape of the Silver State, says Western Nevada College Emeritus English Professor Michon Mackedon.
The longtime Fallon resident has finished her first book, “Bombast: Spinning Atoms in the Desert,” that Mackedon says will serve as a guide to Nevada’s nuclear past, according to a college news release that highlights lectures she will give today at the WNC campus in Minden and on Thursday in Carson City.
Her work considers the issues of the above-ground and underground nuclear weapon tests that took place in Nevada between 1951 and 1993. She also explores the dilemmas caused by declarations of the Silver State as a “wasteland,” guarantees of “sound science” to justify testing, and an ongoing effort to designate Nevada as the nation’s nuclear waste repository, the release states.
In 1986 Mackedon was appointed by Gov. Richard Bryan to serve on the Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects where she served for more than 20 years. She tells WNC that she was "deeply interested" in the deployment of euphemisms by the government and nuclear industry that were designed to convince the public that nuclear projects were safe and suitable in Nevada.
"My investigation of nuclear 'spin' in the deserts of my homeland led to the creation of 'Bombast,'" she said.
The book received a highly favorable review by author and New York Times editorial writer Dennis Smith, who said he “loved this lavish work of history, not only for its important story, but also as it reassures that the art of refined journalism is still with us.” The writer notes: “If you care about nuclear warfare and its ever present and growing confrontations, or if you are moved by exceptional writing, then you will love this book.”
In upcoming events that are funded by Nevada Humanities, Mackedon will offer lectures today, Nov. 17, at Western Nevada College Douglas campus 1680 Bently Parkway and at the WNC Carson City campus, 2201 West College Parkway on Thursday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
Mackedon said she hopes to generate discussion on two themes: the dilemma faced by the U.S. if plans to build the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear repository are permanently discontinued; and the examination of Nevada’s nuclear legacy in literature and culture.
The book is currently available at Sundance Bookstore in Reno, at the Churchill County Museum in Fallon, and online from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.