Atomic Thunder: the Maralinga story

Tynan, Elizabeth (2016) Atomic Thunder: the Maralinga story. NewSouth, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

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In the 1950s Australian prime minister Robert Menzies blithely agreed to atomic tests that offered no benefit to Australia and relinquished control over them – and left the public completely in the dark. This book reveals the devastating consequences of that decision. After earlier tests at Monte Bello and Emu Field, in 1956, Australia dutifully provided 3200 square kilometres of South Australian desert to the British Government, along with logistics and personnel.

How could a democracy such as Australia host another country's nuclear program in the midst of the Cold War? In this meticulously researched and shocking work, journalist and academic Elizabeth Tynan reveals how Australia allowed itself to be duped. Maralinga was born in secret atomic business, and has continued to be shrouded in mystery decades after the atomic thunder stopped rolling across the South Australian test site.

Research Statement

Research Background This book began in my PhD research at the Australian National University (ANU). It is based in part upon my ANU PhD thesis, although greatly expanded with new documentary evidence. It is mostly based on archive and library sources. The book is written journalistically, to help ensure a wide readership.
Research Contribution Some parts of my research have not previously been documented in popular history accounts of the atomic weapons tests. I have extensively documented the media response to the nuclear tests, and the role of the media (and others) in uncovering the plutonium contamination at the site. I have also provided an account of the "Roller Coaster" investigation by an Australian radiation scientist that showed conclusively that much more plutonium was left at the site than had been disclosed by the British authorities.
Research Significance Atomic Thunder is possibly the most comprehensive popular history account of the British nuclear tests in Australia.
Item ID: 45133
Item Type: Book (Research - A1)
ISBN: 978-1-74223-428-1
Keywords: Maralinga, atomic, nuclear, British, tests
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Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2016 05:02
FoR Codes: 43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430302 Australian history @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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