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The Nuclear Age in the Pacific Islands

The Nuclear Age in the Pacific Islands The Nuclear Age in the Pacific Islands Nic Maclellan The study of nuclear testing in the Pacific by French scholar Jean-Marc Regnault is to be welcomed. But there are a number of areas where I would place a different emphasis to explain the sources of resistance to French nuclear and colonial policy in the region. From the beginning of the nuclear age, indigenous peoples of the Pacific have borne the brunt of nuclear weapons testing by France, Britain, and the United States. Seeking “empty” spaces, the western powers chose to conduct Cold War programs of nuclear testing in the deserts of central Australia or the isolated atolls of the central and south Pacific. But these regions were not “terra nullius,” and a central feature of planning for nuclear testing was a casual racism toward the indigenous inhabitants of the region. A striking example comes from planning documents for the 1957 Brit- ish nuclear tests at Christmas and Malden Islands, code-named “Grap- ple.” In November 1956, a British military report outlined possible radi- ation dosages for people near the Grapple nuclear tests. In the racist terminology of the time, the report notes: For civilised populations, assumed to wear boots and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Contemporary Pacific University of Hawai'I Press

The Nuclear Age in the Pacific Islands

The Contemporary Pacific , Volume 17 (2) – Jul 29, 2005

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 University of Hawai'i Press.
ISSN
1527-9464

Abstract

The Nuclear Age in the Pacific Islands Nic Maclellan The study of nuclear testing in the Pacific by French scholar Jean-Marc Regnault is to be welcomed. But there are a number of areas where I would place a different emphasis to explain the sources of resistance to French nuclear and colonial policy in the region. From the beginning of the nuclear age, indigenous peoples of the Pacific have borne the brunt of nuclear weapons testing by France, Britain, and the United States. Seeking “empty” spaces, the western powers chose to conduct Cold War programs of nuclear testing in the deserts of central Australia or the isolated atolls of the central and south Pacific. But these regions were not “terra nullius,” and a central feature of planning for nuclear testing was a casual racism toward the indigenous inhabitants of the region. A striking example comes from planning documents for the 1957 Brit- ish nuclear tests at Christmas and Malden Islands, code-named “Grap- ple.” In November 1956, a British military report outlined possible radi- ation dosages for people near the Grapple nuclear tests. In the racist terminology of the time, the report notes: For civilised populations, assumed to wear boots and

Journal

The Contemporary PacificUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jul 29, 2005

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