Kate Brown’s Plutopia is the tale of two atomic cities — twin siblings of the Cold War, created for the purpose of harvesting the plutonium that fueled the post-war nuclear arms race.
The top-secret reactors at the Pentagon’s Hanford plutonium plant lead to the creation of Richland, a planned city built in the wind-scraped wastelands of Washington State. The residents – all white and privileged – lived in a perfectly landscaped consumers’ paradise complete with federally subsidized housing and free medical care. Russia’s plutopia was called Ozersk. It was built in the Urals, near the plutonium mills of Maiak, and it was so secret it didn’t appear on official maps.