Nuclear weapons and radioactive waste are important aspects of international relations today. This is not necessarily a question of nuclear war: a case in point is the explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, which had a major impact on relations between Ukraine and Russia. The environmental and cultural impact of the Soviet nuclear program in Central Asia, where uranium was mined and the first Soviet atomic bomb was assembled, has been studied a lot less. Abandoned mining towns, closed mines, and uranium waste repositories are part of post-colonial reality and the local cultural code, in which the theme of ecological catastrophe plays an important role.
The plutonium poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London had an aesthetic code of its own. The radioactive trace that stretches from the Central Asian mines to, in this case, London is, in the terminology of object-oriented ontology, a hyperobject that is embedded in the Russian colonial paradigm and demands our close attention.