Table Topics questions are meant to stimulate family and classroom discussion.
Use the questions below after reading,"The atomic era dawns"
- The dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan in August, 1945 was a history-altering event
that ended the war and created ongoing debate. What were our reasons for using it and what's your opinion
about them? Are countries justified in using any means necessary to win a war? Does Japan share in the
responsibility for refusing surrender? Is killing the civilian population justifiable if it shortens conflict
and ultimately saves lives?
- Few Hanford workers knew they were producing deadly plutonium. How do you imagine such a secret
could be kept from 17,000 people? Why was there such secrecy? What are the properties of plutonium
and why was Hanford a good site for its manufacture?
- Today, the "Downwinders" and others who lived or worked near Hanford, believe their
health was affected by exposure to hazardous nuclear materials. Given the secrecy, was it
likely that workers were properly protected at the time? Did people realize the long-term effects
of radiation then and what do we know about it now? Should the government be held responsible?
- Hanford presents a legacy for our state, for good and for ill. The Hanford Reach stretch of the
Columbia River was left wild and undammed, providing a refuge for spawning salmon and wildlife of all kinds.
But leaking underground tanks of nuclear waste remain offshore. What is the future of Hanford? As a taxpayer,
are you willing to pay whatever it takes to clean up the site?
- In the '70s and '80s, there was considerable debate about nuclear power as a source of cheap,
renewable energy. Health concerns were heightened by a core meltdown at Three Mile Island and nuclear
disaster in Chernobyl. Closer to home, the WPSS project collapsed in financial ruin. The world continues
to rely on non-renewable fossil fuel supplies. What is the future of nuclear energy? Should it be
considered again as a power source? What problems would have to be resolved to make it acceptable?
- If you weren't around,
talk to someone familiar with the air raid drills, bomb shelters and emergency readiness of the
'50s. What was the Cold War and why did the Northwest feel vulnerable to attack? Today Northwest
families are more likely to stockpile for a potential earthquake. Why do Americans feel less
concerned about nuclear annihilation? Do we have a false sense of security?
Copyright © 1996 The Seattle Times Company