Accepted Paper:

Monitoring radiation: The birth of networked publics after Chernobyl  

Author:

Yasuhito Abe (Komazawa University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper investigates how Japanese publics contributed to developing an information infrastructure on nuclear radiation in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster. In particular, it examines Radiation Disaster Alert Network (R-DAN] from an STS-informed historical perspective.

Paper long abstract:

This paper investigates how Japanese publics contributed to developing an information infrastructure on nuclear radiation in the wake of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. Whereas much scholarship has analyzed how publics were engaged in information production practices after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, little research has investigated them from a historical perspective. This paper thus fills the gap by examining them with a particular focus on the case of post-Chernobyl Japanese society.

In doing so, this paper investigates Radiation Disaster Alert Network (R-DAN, thereafter). Established on August 6, 1986, R-DAN is a Japanese grassroots network of citizens and engineers, who were concerned about unknown exposure to radiation. With its own dosimeter, R-DAN has monitored radiation leakage from nuclear power plants around Japan independently and collaboratively for approximately thirty years, becoming one of the key Japanese grassroots networks monitoring radiation before the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. An investigation of R-DAN would be a precondition for better historical understanding of post-Fukushima Japanese society.

From an STS-informed historical perspective with a particular focus on citizen science literature, this paper investigates both online and print materials about R-DAN and its dosimeter, including the various kinds of documents such as Japanese mainstream newspapers (the Asahi, the Yomiuri, and the Nihon Keizai) and anti-nuclear grassroots movements' press (Han-Genpatsu Shimbun). In so doing, this paper seeks to illuminate resources and opportunities that Japanese publics draw on in the act of measuring radiation after Fukushima.

Panel T093
Infrastructures of nuclearity: Exploring entangled histories, spaces and futures