Robert Jungk’s The Nuclear State

The Austrian writer and journalist, Robert Jungk (1913-1994), was engaged in anti-Nazi resistance movement before and during World War II, and continued to be socially and politically active after the war. At the same time, he wrote a number of important books on the subject of nuclear power. But his works are relatively unknown at present both in the US and Japan, since none have been reprinted for a few decades (although most can be purchased via used book dealers).

When The Nuclear State first came out in the late 1970s, it became worldly bestseller, warning the readers about dangers of the increasing introduction of nuclear energy into civilian life. With his detailed researches on the actual operation, the book shows how fragile a nuclear power plant is and his critique is in this sense prophetic to Fukushima 3/11. We find the book particularly important, since it indicates the fact that nuclear power is not just a dangerous kind of energy that can be replaced by other kinds of energy without touching social, economic and political system; that the present society of control came into existence by the civilian and military application of nuclear power; that the society we live in now is imprisoned by the risky management of nuclear power(…)

Among others, his Brighter Than a Thousand Suns is a detailed account of how atomic bombs (i.e., the Manhattan Project) were created by the interactions among a number of scientists and politicians, traveling across the Atlantic, from Europe to the US. He also composed writings on people’s experience/history in Hiroshima in the aftermath of the bombing as well as during the time of reconstruction of the city, through innumerable interviews with local people.

The Nuclear State, translated by Eric Mosbacher, London: John Calder, 1979.

Brighter Than a Thousand Suns – A Personal History of the Atomic Scientists, translated by James Cleugh, San Diego, New York, London: A Harvest Book, 1986.

Children of the Ashes – The Story of a Rebirth, translated by Constantine Fitzgibbon, New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc, 1961.

And others…




1970年代後半、『原子力帝国』が出版された時、それは世界的なベストセラーとなった。それは読者に、ますます盛んになっていた原子力の市民生活への 導入の危険性を訴えた。著者の原子力発電所の操業に関する詳細な研究は、それが如何に際どいものか立証し、その意味で、福島3/11に関して予言的だったと言える。われわれにとって、当書がことさら重要なのは、原子力とは、社会/経済/政治機構に触れることなく、他のエネルギーに入れ替えられる単なる危険なエネルギーではないこと、現今の統制/管理社会はまさに原子力の民間/軍事的導入によって、現われたものであること、われわれが現在生きている社会は、原子力の危険な管理によって虜にされていること(・・・)、を示しているからである。





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Exchanging Thoughts Since 3.11 Great Eastern Earthquake & Tokyo Electric Power's Fukushima Nuclear Crisis

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