Institute for Policy Integrity logo


Environmental Awareness in the Atomic Age

Radioecologists and Nuclear Technology

Many biologists who conducted studies on nuclear fallout and waste for the Atomic Energy Commission began to develop concerns about radioactive pollution in the environment from the long-term, cumulative effects of nuclear waste disposal, the use of atomic bombs for construction projects, and the potential ecological devastation wrought by nuclear war. Their new environmental awareness prompted many Atomic Energy Commission ecologists to try to draw congressional attention to the dangers that nuclear technology posed to the environment. This article, published in Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, highlights reforms in the education and training of ecologists to meet the challenges of the atomic age through the new subfield of “radioecology” as well as research into problems of environmental pollution more broadly.