The project

Nuclear Cartographies is a project which began taking shape in June 2022 through the Digital Humanities program at Cornell University. Simply put, it seeks to map and visually represent the atomic circuit around the world through four different layers: atomic tests, nuclear reactors, nuclear waste repositories, and uranium mines. The project emerged from my own research and interests for the French development of atomic technology and its ties to both Republicanism as a State political discourse and ideology, and (post) colonialism as a historical and material reality.

Although it is still a work in progress which will hopefully include international datasets in the long run, this beta version focuses on the French atomic circuit for two reasons:

  • First, because the nature of this project is particularly wide and collecting, sorting, and verifying data through thousands of entries from dozens of different sources was too broad and complex an undertaking for a single researcher in the span of one month. As such, I decided to focus on the set I had already amassed some data on: France.
  • Second, because, as a French citizen myself, accessing the resources necessary for the elaboration of this project was more convenient than that of the United States.

Nuclear Cartographies was made possible by the Digital Humanities program at Cornell University. I am especially grateful to Eliza Bettinger, Iliana Burgos, and Keith Jenkins at the Cornell Digital Lab for their help in developing this website, as well as to my fellows at the program for their input. Some of the data collected and presented here was also made possible by the help of Sophie Delmas and Odile Frossard at the archival department of the CEA.