Symposium 2012

Atomic Age II: Fukushima

日本語の情報はこちらからどうぞ | にほんごの じょうほうは こちらからどうぞ

The Atomic Age: Fukushima
took place on May 5, 2012 in Social Science 122, the University of Chicago.
We are sincerely grateful to all who came to attend the symposium.

For information on Atomic Age Symposium 2011, click here.

Symposium Videos
Each of the following two playlists consists of 4 parts.
The autoplay will get you through the entire symposium.


ORIGINAL (English and Japanese)

For download, go to the UChicago official multimedia website.

For full animation, choose SlideRocket.
(Click on pictures, not the arrows.)

KOIDE, Hiroaki: SlideRocket / PDF
MUTO, Ruiko (in English): SlideRocket / PDF
MUTO, Ruiko (in Japanese): SlideRocket / PDF
PATTERSON, Jeff: SlideRocket / PDF
WILKIE, Dean: SlideRocket / PDF

Photo Gallery

Our Objectives

Our concerns for nuclear issues predate 3.11, 2011. In fact, when we began preparing our first symposium, “Atomic Age: from Hiroshima to the Present,” held on May 21, 2011, Fukushima had not yet happened. From the beginning, we planned to investigate a dichotomy characterizing the postwar nuclear world more broadly: on the one hand, nuclear weapons, increasingly recognized as problematic, and, on the other, “atoms for peace,” or nuclear energy, held to promise prosperity and comfort for all. While discussion concerning the origins and implications of this division is ongoing and relevant, our primary concern for this year’s symposium is to reflect upon the actual catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and to ponder its impact on lives both within and beyond Fukushima.

Still today, more than a year since the catastrophe struck, the Japanese government and TEPCO continue to withhold important information regarding radiation leakage, and there continues to be a dearth of epidemiological data on radiation exposure. Conflicting comments by experts further complicate the situation. For many living in Fukushima and beyond, this remains a time of confusion and distress. Because nuclear issues are thought to be “highly technological,” citizens whose everyday lives are impacted by the disaster are apt to encounter a detached professional, bureaucratic discourse that discourages participation in decision-making on an issue that concerns the whole of society. Divisions are emerging among the same citizens, depending on differences in damage and resources for coping, beginning with who can get away and who can’t, who can buy “safe” food, and who can’t. Such divisions deepen and extend what had already been a serious degree of inequality in Japan. Nevertheless, we cannot overlook the hopeful reemergence of a culture of protest.

In light of these reflections, we envision this symposium as a forum in which experts, including activists, from various fields converge in order to share their knowledge and to discuss their concerns in a manner that transcends disciplinary divisions. In addition, we also believe it important to go beyond the national borders that too often contribute to the false perception of the Fukushima calamity as a specifically Japanese problem, as if radiation were contained by geopolitical boundaries. To this end, we are inviting speakers from the US as well as Japan.

Click here to view the official press release.

To download the PDF file of the symposium flyer, click here. 8.5×11 Atomic Age II Flyer

To download the PDF file of the symposium poster, click here. 11x17AtomicAge II Poster

Symposium Schedule

  • 8:00 – Breakfast
  • 8:15 – Registration
  • 8:45 – Introduction by Norma Field (EALC, University of Chicago)

Session I
Chaired by Michael Fisch (Anthropology, University of Chicago)

  • 9:00-10:50 – Keynote Speech by Hiroaki Koide (Translation by Norma Field and Ken Asada)
  • 10:50-11:00 – Break
  • 11:00-11:30 – Robert Rosner
  • 11:30-12:00 – Q&A

(Translation assistance by Toshio Yoshimatsu, Yuki Miyamoto, Tomomi Yamaguchi)

12:00-1:00 Lunch (free lunch provided)

Session II
Chaired by Hoyt Long (EALC, University of Chicago)

  • 1:00-2:50 – Keynote Speech by Ruiko Muto (Translation by Norma Field)
  • 2:50-3:00 – Break
  • 3:00-3:30 – Bobbie Paul
  • 3:30-4:00 – Jeffrey Patterson
  • 4:00-4:30 – Dean Wilkie and Nancy Foust
  • 4:30-5:00 – Q&A
  • 5:00-5:10 – Break

(Translation assistance by John Person, Toshio Yoshimatsu, Yuki Miyamoto, Tomomi Yamaguchi)

Session III: Roundtable Discussion
Chaired by Yuki Miyamoto (Religious Studies, DePaul University)

  • 5:10-6:00 – Roundtable discussion with Hiroaki Koide, Robert Rosner, Ruiko Muto, Bobbie Paul, Jeffery Patterson, Dean Wilkie, Nancy Foust and Norma Field

(Translation by John Person, Ken Asada; translation assistance by Toshio Yoshimatsu, Tomomi Yamaguchi)


  • Ken Asada – University of Illinois at Chicago Center for Pharmaceutical and biotechnology
  • John Person – EALC, University of Chicago
  • Toshio Yoshimatsu – University of Chicago Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology
  • Norma Field – EALC, University of Chicago
  • Yuki Miyamoto – Religious Studies, DePaul University
  • Tomomi Yamaguchi – Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Montana State University


Who are the participants?

Hiroaki Koide
Born in Tokyo in 1949, Koide is an assistant professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute.
In 1968, Koide matriculated at Tohoku University (Nuclear Engineering) to pursue the dreams of the much-advertised Atoms for Peace, in which he had so much faith.
In 1970, Koide attended an anti-nuclear meeting in Onagawa, which resulted in his decision to pursue the study of nuclear technology further so that he could help stop the use of nuclear energy.
In 1974, Koide received his Masters’ Degree in Nuclear Engineering at the Graduate School of Tohoku University, specializing in radiation metrology and nuclear safety.
Author of many books including: 『隠される原子力・核の真実——原子力の専門家が原発に反対するわけ The Hidden Truths of Atoms: Why A Nuclear Expert Opposes Nuclear Power』 (Soshisha), 『放射線汚染の現実を超えて Beyond the Realities of Radiation Contamination』(Kawade-shobo Shinsha), and 『原発のウソ Lies of Nuclear Energy』 (Fusosha).
Koide has used his expertise to point out the dangers of nuclear power for forty-one years. For more information on him please see
Ruiko Muto
Born in 1953, and currently residing in Miharu-cho, Fukushima, former print artisan and special needs teacher Ruiko Muto opened a café, Kirara, in the wooded hills outside her town in 2003.
Muto has been involved in anti-nuclear activism since Chernobyl and was planning to launch a project called “Hairo Action: 40 Years of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plants” in 2011.
The Fukushima Dai’ichi catastrophe forced her to close her café. Ever since, Muto has devoted much of her time to protecting the human rights and health of local residents and evacuees. She is the author of 『福島からあなたへ From Fukushima To You.
Muto’s speech on the anti-nuclear demonstration that attracted 60,000 citizen marchers can be found at
Nancy Foust
Nancy Foust has over 15 years experience in the design and production of online media through her work in the advertising industry. Her diverse background includes communications, theater, architectural and mechanical design and animal health. This diversity has helped her translate the work of the SimplyInfo research team into the content on the web site. She joined the Reuters live blog, about the Great East Japan Earthquake and the related Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident on 3.11. When the live blog was dropped by Reuters, she worked with other leaders in the group to continue the live blog that still goes on today. She led the technical team in planning and creating the SimplyInfo website and information systems. Nancy also operates the Fukushima Photo Site, a collection of early attempts to pull forensic data out of images of the Fukushima Daiichi plant.
Jeff Patterson
Patterson is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, WI. In this role, he maintains an active family practice and teaches residents in family medicine. This has been his academic and clinical base since 1975.
Atomic Age mourns the passing of public health activist Dr. Jeff Patterson
Bobbie Paul
Paul serves as Executive Director of Georgia WAND. She has spent almost 25 years supporting the vision of WAND’s founder – Dr. Helen Caldicott – to gradually rid the world of nuclear weapons. She has helped the Georgia chapter define its three areas of concentration across the state and Southeast region: Peace in Action, Environmental Justice and Empowering People to Act Politically. Paul has watch-dogged Savannah River Site (SRS) for over fifteen years and led campaigns to successfully restore Department of Energy (DOE) environmental monitoring of SRS in Georgia. Paul is a former theatre professional and the co-founder of a regional theatre company in St. Petersburg, Florida (now known as American Stage Company). She has worked for the US Department of State as a theatre specialist in Egypt and Jordan.
Robert Rosner
Rosner is a professor in the Department of Astronomy, Astrophysics, and Physics at the University of Chicago. Rosner served as Argonne National Laboratory’s Associate Director for physical, biological and computing sciences and as its Chief Scientist from 2002 until his appointment as laboratory director in 2005. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, his scientific specialty is plasma astrophysics—the physics of the sun and the stars. He led the collaboration of Argonne and University of Chicago scientists who created the Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes and directed the center from its founding in 1997 until 2002. The center develops simulations of exploding stars with computer codes that can be adapted for application to other fields.
Dean Wilkie
Dean Wilkie has three decades of experience in the nuclear field through work at a Department of Energy test reactor in Idaho. He worked in reactor operations and held various positions from reactor operator to plant management. He also worked in construction and plant engineering and played an instrumental role in coordination of work performed to support the reactor. He joined a live blog group on 3-11, which was run by Reuters, about the Great East Japan Earthquake and the related Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. The group wanted the real news and a way to do something about this unprecedented tragedy. When the blog group was dropped by Reuters he worked with other leaders in the group and started the SimplyInfo webpage. SimplyInfo created a unique international crowd sourced approach to news dissemination and investigative research. The group has been following the 3-11 disaster with special focus on the nuclear accident. The webpage strength is in the group’s diversity. People from around the globe, from varied professions and industries have come together to research, investigate, analyze and educate about these ongoing incidents. The group uses the knowledge of the members for research and analysis of both the technical and humanitarian aspects of complex incidents and concerns without focus on profit.