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Author looks at the impact of the nuclear industry on New Mexico

Mount Taylor uranium mine, side gate signage.
Wikimedia Commons
Mount Taylor uranium mine, side gate signage.

University Showcase 7/21 8a: On this episode we talk with Lucie Genay, author of “Land of Nuclear Enchantment: A New Mexican History of the Nuclear Weapons Industry,” published by University of New Mexico Press. The title is a reference to photographer and artist Patrick Nagatani, whose relatives lived near Hiroshima. His work chronicled the ongoing after-effects of nuclear testing, mining and development in New Mexico.

Genay came to the University of New Mexico as a visiting graduate student and began researching the Manhattan Project. She quickly realized that the bulk of narratives focused on the scientists who came to New Mexico, rather than New Mexicans themselves and their experiences with the creation of the bomb and the ensuing buildup of the nuclear industry here. She also saw the vast income disparities despite the wealth brought to the state through the industry.

Genay is an associate professor of civilization at the Université de Limoges in France. Her most recent book is “Under the Cap of Invisibility: The Pantex Nuclear Weapons Plant and the Texas Panhandle,” also from UNM Press.

This week marks the 78th anniversary of the world's first nuclear explosion with the Trinity Test in Southern New Mexico. A new film focused on the physicist who led the effort to develop the bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer, also opens nationwide this week.


Megan has been a journalist for 25 years and worked at business weeklies in San Antonio, New Orleans and Albuquerque. She first came to KUNM as a phone volunteer on the pledge drive in 2005. That led to volunteering on Women’s Focus, Weekend Edition and the Global Music Show. She was then hired as Morning Edition host in 2015, then the All Things Considered host in 2018. Megan was hired as News Director in 2021.
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