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Politics & Current Affairs

Steven Chu: Peaceful Nuclear Power

“U.S. Energy Secretary Chu encourages the peaceful use of nuclear power at this year’s International Atomic Energy Agency gathering in Vienna.”

“In his April 2009 speech in Prague, President Obama called for building ‘a new framework for civil nuclear cooperation’ so that the international community can access nuclear material for civilian power use without increasing the risks of proliferation. He continued: ‘That must be the right of every nation that renounces nuclear weapons, especially developing countries embarking on peaceful programs. And no approach will succeed if it’s based on the denial of rights to nations that play by the rules.’ A strong and efficient market for nuclear fuel is vital to securing carbon-free energy on a global basis.”

The 70th anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will undoubtedly be accompanied by images of the “mushroom clouds” that rose over both cities. Terrible and sublime, these images burned themselves into the consciousness of “the greatest generation” and every generation since that’s lived with both the legacy of nuclear war and the reality of nuclear energy. A new exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario titled Camera Atomica looks deeply at the interrelated nature of photography and nuclear war and peace to come away with a fascinating glimpse of the calculatedly manufactured “atomic sublime” — the fascination with such terrible power at our command that simply won’t let us look away.

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