Environment and Environmentalism in Kentucky

Stephanie Lang's picture

There's an article in the Spring 2017 issue of the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society that may interest some H-1960's subscribers. Abstract below, full journal available on Project MUSE, https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/524.

VOL. 115, NO. 2 | Spring 2017

Special Issue

Environment and Environmentalism in Kentucky


Kentucky’s “Atomic Graveyard”: Maxey Flats and Environmental Inequity in Rural America

By Caroline Peyton, lecturer at Cameron University

Located in rural Fleming County, the Maxey Flats Disposal Site began accepting radioactive waste in the early 1960s. As Caroline Peyton notes, state officials believed the facility would bring jobs and tax revenue to the state. However, the dreams of turning Kentucky into a “nuclear paradise” never came true. Instead, Maxey Flats Disposal Site turned into a nightmare for local residents when reports surfaced in the early 1970s that radioactive waste had seeped out of the protective trenches and into the environment. Local citizens’ groups formed to protest the facility, and the state eventually shuttered it in the late 1970s. However, environmental remediation was slow to come. Maxey Flats offers an instructive case for how state regulatory systems and risk assessments sometimes fail—with potentially harmful consequences for humans and the environment.

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