Nuclear technology and the American West have a rather...complex relationship. For most students of science and engineering (myself included) the only things ever mentioned in class about nuclear technology in the American West are nuclear bombs and nuclear waste. While each of these topics is very interesting and most certainly deserves further discussion, they only represent part of the full range of nuclear "experiences" for westerners. The Nuclear West was a phrase coined by Raye Ringholz in her classic history, Uranium Frenzy, to describe the unique relationship westerners have with nuclear technology. The New Nuclear West is an attempt by a young, somewhat eclectic, and occasionally provocative graduate student (that would be me) to continue the story of the many ways in which westerners experience nuclear technology.
Before I ride off into the proverbial sunset, I want to say a few things about myself and this blog. First off, I am a student of Nuclear Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines and a member of the American Nuclear Society. That being said, The New Nuclear West is a reflection of my personal beliefs and should not be viewed as the opinions of either the Colorado School of Mines or ANS. Secondly, this is a project for my class in Advanced Science Communication and is a work in progress. My hope is that by December The New Nuclear West will descend from the mountain of inconsistency to the mutual benefit of all parties involved. Finally, I sincerely hope that the issues I bring to light will motivate you to engage with me and provide your insights. We humans frame our material world with language, and an open, two-way dialogue is the best way for our society to better understand the complex relationship between nuclear technology and the American West.