Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Dr. Magdalena Stawkowski

First Reader

Claire Silva

Second Reader

Claire Silva


In this thesis, I propose that South Carolina residents have developed a perception of their communities as “nuclear utopias.” I focus specifically on the Oconee Nuclear Power station in Seneca in the northwestern part of the state. I argue that the state’s extensive connections to the nuclear industry, coupled with the fact that many individuals have profited from the job opportunities and economic benefits that this sector provides, have led to a general acceptance of and even appreciation for nuclear power. Nuclear utopia suggests that individuals in South Carolina may view the nuclear industry as a source of hope and prosperity. This perception is influenced by a variety of factors, including the long history of the nuclear industry in the state, cultural attitudes toward energy production, and the perceived benefits of nuclear power. The concept of nuclear utopia in South Carolina raises significant questions about the relationship between individuals and energy production.

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