Nuclear energy epitomizes the ambiguity of high modernity like no other technology. In the history of the Soviet Union, it played an exceptionally prominent role, initially accelerating its ascent to super power status and bolstering its visions of the future, but later hastening its demise in the wake of the Chernobyl’ disaster in 1986.
The conference aims to review these developments in a long-term perspective and to place them in an international context. Bringing together historians of the Soviet Union, international relations and science and technology, the conference taps into nuclear history’s rich potential to generate key insights into the complex entanglement of technology, politics, society, and the environment that has come to define the era of high modernity.
Klaus Gestwa (Tübingen) and Stefan Guth (Tübingen)
Panel I: Three Worlds, One Atom?
Chair and Comment: Karena Kalmbach (Eindhoven)
Mara Drogan (Loudonville NY): Atoms for Peace and the Third World: Questioning the Cold War Framework
Elisabeth Röhlrlich (Vienna): The Limits of the Dual Mandate: Soviet Positions in the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group during the 1970s
Fabian Lüscher (Bern): Romashka and the Poetics of Soviet Nuclear Internationalism
Panel II: Atoms on Tour
Chair and Comment: Melanie Arndt (Regensburg)
Roman Khandozhko (Tübingen): Quantum Tunnelling through the Iron Curtain: The International Community of High Energy Physicists in the Soviet Nuclear City of Dubna
Carla Konta (Trieste): Yugoslav Nuclear Diplomacy Between the Soviet Union and the United States in the Early Cold War
Ivaylo Hristov (Plovdiv): The Soviet Technopolitical Influence in Eastern Europe. The Bulgarian Nuclear Power Program in the Shadow of the Soviet Union (1955–1989)
Panel III: Radiating Future: Nuclear Waste
Chair and Comment: Tanja Penter (Heidelberg)
Tatiana Kasperski (Barcelona): Not quite a ‘Green Lawn’: Controversial Definitions of Nuclear Waste in Contemporary Russia
Andrei Stsiapaniau (Vilnius): Nuclear Waste as Unclear Legacy. How to Classify and Manage Nuclear Energy Uses in Modern Russia?
Panel IV: Nuclear Technopolitics Past and Present
Chair and Comment: Julia Richers (Bern)
Natalia Melnikova (Ekaterinburg): Nuclear Industry in the USSR and Russia as a Point Of Intersection between State and Society, the Local and the International
Stefan Guth (Tübingen): Breeding Progress or ‘To the Pioneers of the Distant Future Fly our 20th-Century Dreams!’
Paul Josephson (Waterville): Putin’s Indefatigable Atom: Rosatom Powers Russia into the Twenty-Second Century
Panel V: Half-Lives, Short and Long
Chair and Comment: Susanne Bauer (Oslo)
Nestor Herran (Paris): Beyond Fallout: The OEEC and the Early Coordination of Radiation Monitoring in Western Europe
Laura Sembritzki (Heidelberg): You Break it, You Buy it? Policies of Nuclear Disaster Relief in the Southern Urals
Galina Orlova (Moscow/Vilnius): The Short Life of Isotopes in the USSR, the 1950–1960s