Britain's Secret Atomic Tests in Australia

Published: July 10, 2024, 11:30 p.m.


During the 1950s, in the remote expanses of Australia\'s outback, the British government conducted a series of clandestine nuclear tests. These were the early years of the Cold War, and Britain was determined to expand its atomic capabilities and shore up its great power status. But these tests came at a harrowing cost to Aboriginal communities and site personnel, who were not sufficiently protected from the deadly nuclear fallout. The full extent of the harm done by these detonations is still not known.

We\'re joined by Elizabeth Tynan, author of \'The Secrets of Emu Field: Britain\\u2019s Forgotten Atomic Tests in Australia\'. She explains the reasons for these tests, the damage they did, and what they tell us about the peculiar bonds of colonialism.

Produced by James Hickmann and edited by Dougal Patmore.

For more episodes on the history of nuclear weapons:

  1. Oppenheimer -
  2. How to Prepare for Nuclear War -
  3. The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb -

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