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Nuking the Neighborhood


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The road to the Tatum Salt Dome near Baxterville, Mississippi, the site of two underground nuclear tests in the 1960s.  Source: Andrew Stelzer

The road to the Tatum Salt Dome near Baxterville, Mississippi, the site of two underground nuclear tests in the 1960s. Source: Andrew Stelzer

Nuclear bombs in the hands of terrorists are frightening enough, but imagine your own government blowing them up near your hometown: What would it do to your community. To your family? How would you react? And could anything be done to stop it from happening in the first place?

On this edition, we’ll hear how the world’s most powerful weapons shaped the identity of two rural communities in the United States during the 1960s. One, a small town in southern Mississippi; the other, a native village in the land of the midnight sun: Alaska.


James and Dorothy Lowe, Anne and Steve Bounds, Grace Burge, Timmy Gibson and Bill Bishop, residents of Baxterville, Mississippi; Bob Goff, director of radiological health, Mississippi Department of Health; Grayson Rayborn, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy, University of Southern Mississippi; Dan O’Neil, author, “The Firecracker Boys”; Dorkus Rock, Inupiaq elder and resident of Point Hope; George Kingik, mayor of Point Hope; Alice Webber and Steve Oomittuk, Point Hope residents.

This week’s host: Tena Rubio.
Contributing producers: Andrew Stelzer, Gabriel Spitzer.

For more information:

Mississippi Department of Health – Jackson, MS

Physics and Astronomy Department – Hattiesburg, MS

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – Chicago, IL

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War – Cambridge, MA

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation – Washington, DC

Reviews of this program on PRX (Public Radio Exchange):

Posted: 5-18-2006
Reviewer: Arvid Hokanson, Assistant Program Director, KUOW Public Radio

The producers did a great job bringing in lots of tape and letting the voices tell the story. It brought a human-tone to the story. I’m glad to hear balance with the phone interviews near the end of the program. This was good radio storytelling.

This program exposed something I knew nothing about. Even though the topic is not local, I think it is relevant to many communities across the country dealing with polluted areas and government agenices.

This would work well in a 29 minute showcase slot or as 1/2 of a 60 minute showcase slot. It could also work as part of a locally-produced news magazine.

Rating: 4/5
Adjectives: Elaborate, Informational, Sound Rich

Author: Radio Project

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