Critical Masses Opposition to Nuclear Power in California, 1958-1978
- List Price: $19.95
- Binding: Hardcover
- Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Pr
- Publish date: 06/01/1998
The nuclear industry was selling the "peaceful atom", but people in California weren't buying. Using vivid detail and first hand testimony, Critical Masses tells how the citizens of California -- from the tiny town of Wasco in the Central Valley to the vast suburbs of Los Angeles -- challenged the threat of nuclear power, transformed the antinuclear movement, and helped changed the face of U.S. politics.
Popular misconceptions of the antinuclear movement attribute its success to economic and institutional powers. But Thomas Raymond Wellock, drawing upon interviews, activist papers, and state and federal documents, shows that it was local grassroots activism that actually brought about great change, bringing to bear a powerful array of new social values. Post-World War II affluence and education created public demands for a scenic, safe, clean environment and greater personal freedom. Wellock reveals how these values energized the antinuclear movement, revised the terms of scientific and public debate, and brought environmental and democratic ideals to state regulation. Appealing both to progressive environmentalists and to populists who responded to the movement's anti-federal rhetoric, the antinuclear movement spread as the authority of public officials declined.