12:00 Friday, February 6 WAG 316
“Atomic Junction: Bringing a Nuclear Reactor to an African Suburb”
Atomic Junction is a nexus of roadways leading to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission at Kwabenya, site of a 30kw research reactor. This talk considers the specter of the reactor in the collective memory of those living and working at Kwabenya. It examines Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah’s project to secure Soviet support for a reactor in the early 1960s. It then considers how Ghanaian scientists nurtured the dream for a reactor during the 1970s and 1980s, despite tremendous international pressure to abandon nuclear activities. The story continues up to the advent of Chinese support for the reactor in the last moments of the Cold War. Alongside the history of Ghana’s efforts to secure a reactor, the talk considers shifting alliances between Ghana and China, the Soviet Union/Russia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Abena Dove Osseo-Asare is Assistant Professor of History at UT Austin. She received her PhD in the History of Science from Harvard University. She is the author of Bitter Roots: The Search for Healing Plants in Africa (Chicago, 2014).