Monday, June 18, 2012

My Article on Soviet Civil Defense in the Journal of Cold War Studies

The Journal of Cold War Studies has published my article on civil defense bomb shelters in the Soviet Union during the early Cold War. Here's the abstract:

Was There a Real “Mineshaft Gap”? Bomb Shelters in the USSR, 1945–1962

During the Cold War, the nature, intent, and scale of Soviet civil defense were the subject of heated debate in the West. Some analysts claimed that the USSR possessed a massive civil defense program capable of seriously destabilizing the strategic nuclear balance. This article draws on previously unexamined archival sources to investigate Soviet shelter construction from 1953, when the USSR's civil defense forces began planning for nuclear war, until the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962. These documents indicate that shelter construction consumed the majority of Soviet civil defense funding and was conducted by order of the Council of Ministers. Although the shelters were inadequate both technologically and quantitatively to protect the Soviet population from an all-out U.S. thermonuclear attack, they existed in significant numbers and represented a considerable expenditure of limited Soviet resources. These new revelations provide important insights into Soviet thinking about nuclear war during the Khrushchev era.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Impact Factor

I know that it's been quite awhile since I last posted. It's not because I've given up my nuclear studies, but rather because I've been preoccupied writing my dissertation and several articles. As is seemingly the case with everyone in academia these days, I'm always striving for a higher impact factor, which I need in order to build up my CV for when I start applying for jobs. My first article came out a few months ago, and I have two more appearing later this year, including my piece on the history of the Soviet civil defense bomb shelter program which will be featured in the Journal of Cold War Studies later this summer.

 I know that I had some readers who were hoping for some Chernobyl goodies, and may have wondered why I never posted any more about my research findings from my time in Ukraine last year. The reason is that I've been composing a scholarly article on the topic, which I've now submitted for peer-review. My findings challenge some longstanding beliefs about the Chernobyl accident, so I'm hoping the piece will be an attention-getter.

In other news, in July I'm going to Kazakhstan to tour the old Soviet nuclear testing site at Semipalatinsk, and (if I'm really lucky) the decommissioned BN-350 sodium-cooled fast reactor/desalination plant.