NBA History of Science Seminar

Paul R. Josephson, "Nuclear culture in Putin's Russia."

The Soviet nuclear power establishment, the second largest in the world, has embarked on an ambitious program to build dozens of reactors between 2003 and 2020.

Paul Josephson, Colby College, Waterville, Maine, USA

The rejuvenation of that Soviet establishment through Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energy ("MinAtom") is based on the technological utopianism of Russian political and scientific leaders.

They see nuclear energy as a way to maintain Russia's great power status. They have adopted approaches to reactor development prominent in the Soviet era. These include building dozens of new reactors in construction time faster than seen before in world history, upgrading several Chernobyl-type reactors, accepting spent fuel from abroad for storage in exchange for cash, and floating - literally-- nuclear power stations on barges for use in Russia's far north and for export.

There are few controls on MinAtom within the government, and public involvement in the technology assessment process is limited.