Joel Shurkin

Joel Shurkin is a science writer and a lecturer in communications at Stanford University. He was a member of the Philadelphia Inquirer team which won a Pulitzer Prize in 1979 for its coverage of the Three Mile Island episode of nuclear leakage.


Joel Shurkin, 23 January 1986

Institutional guilt seems to last at least as long as institutional pride. A generation after the United States and the United Kingdom tested their first nuclear and thermonuclear bombs, long after the retirement of the politicians and bureaucrats responsible, the current governments of the two nations still refuse to admit that they endangered and perhaps shortened the lives of some of their citizens. Both governments deny that they were sloppy in the testing of their weapons or that they used their military personnel as laboratory animals. Both governments vehemently refuse to admit that they probably irradiated some innocent bystanders. The United States Government self-righteously fights any liability tooth and claw in the courts. The British Government hides behind an Act of Parliament which was never intended to assist in avoiding culpability.

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