New Zealand in the Atomic Age
In this engaging history, prize-winning author Rebecca Priestley reveals the alternative history of 'nuclear New Zealand' - a country where there was much enthusiasm for nuclear science and technology, from the first users of x-rays and radium in medicine; the young Kiwi physicists seconded to the Manhattan Project; support for British bomb tests in the Pacific; plans for a heavy water plant at Wairakei and a nuclear power station on the Kaipara Harbour; prospecting for uranium on the West Coast; and thousands of scientists and medical professionals working with nuclear technology. Priestley then considers the dramatic transition to the proudly 'nuclear-free New Zealand' policy in the 1980s. In the late 1970s, less than a decade before, New Zealand had been considering nuclear power to meet growing electricity demand. Following the nuclear-free policy, anything with nuclear associations came under suspicion: taxi drivers referred to a science institute using a particle accelerator as 'the bomb factory' and Jools Topp of the Topp Twins refused radiation therapy for cancer, telling the doctors 'I'm a lifelong member of Greenpeace, why would I let you irradiate me?' By uncovering the long and rich history of New Zealanders' engagement with the nuclear world and the roots of our nuclear-free identity, by leading us into popular culture, politics, medicine and science, Priestley reveals much about our culture's evolving attitudes to science and technology and the world beyond our shores.
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