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Under the Cap of Invisibility

The Pantex Nuclear Weapons Plant and the Texas Panhandle
By Lucie Genay



Pantex was built during World War II near the town of Amarillo, Texas. The site was converted early in the Cold War to assemble nuclear weapons and produce high explosives. For nearly fifty years Pantex has been the sole assembly and disassembly plant for nuclear weapons in the United States. Today, most of the activities of the plant consist of the manufacture of high explosive components and the dismantlement or life extension of weapons.

Unlike the much more famous nuclear-weapons-production sites at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Hanford, and Rocky Flats, the Pantex plant has drawn little attention, hidden under a metaphoric “cap of invisibility.” Lucie Genay now lifts that invisibility cap to give the world its first in-depth look at Pantex and the people who have spent their lives as neighbors and employees of this secretive industry. The book investigates how Pantex has impacted local identity by molding elements of the past into the guaranty of its future and its concealment. It further examines the multiple facets of Pantexism through the voices of native and adoptive Panhandlers.

Subjects: SouthwestHistory

Contributor Bios
Lucie Genay is an associate professor of US civilization in the English and American Studies Department at the University of Limoges, France. She is also the author of Land of Nuclear Enchantment: A New Mexican History of the Nuclear Weapons Industry (UNM Press).