Stephanie Palazzo

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10019

Approve Date

August 26, 2020

Project Title

Palazzo, Stephanie (Chicago, U. of) "Decomissioned: Safeguarding the Future After Three Mile Island"

This project investigates how the past and the future come to bear on American nuclear safety regulations and how national emphases on safety, in turn, materialize in the everyday life of small towns facing deindustrialization. Specifically, it examines the sixty-year decommissioning of Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant, the site of America’s worst nuclear accident and, today, one of several US nuclear power plants closing with growing competition from low-cost fossil fuels. Taking TMI as its object, this project explores safety as a political, social, and moral orientation, distinct from security and risk, through which various actors reckon with uncertain pasts and futures in ways that stretch beyond simplified framings of America’s bipartisan politics. It asks: 1) How is safety imagined, enacted, and experienced by various actors in everyday life, and how do such conceptions come to bear on people’s engagement with nuclear infrastructure, the environment, and social life? 2) What pasts are invoked by appeals to safety, and what futures do they anticipate or foreclose? 3) What national sensibilities and modes of citizenship emerge from such temporal invocations? Through this ethnographic study of the interaction of time and safety, it investigates emergent national sensibilities in postindustrialism.