Grappling With The Bomb: Britain’s Nuclear Testing In Kiribati

 

 

 

Grappling With The Bomb: Britain’s Nuclear Testing In Kiribati

By Nic Maclellan

March 7, 2017

Under Operation Grapple, the United Kingdom conducted nine atmospheric nuclear tests in 1957-8 in the British Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony - today, the Republic of Kiribati.

Nearly 14,000 British, New Zealand and Fijian military personnel staffed the nuclear test sites on Christmas Island (Kiritimati) and Malden Island, supported by dozens of Gilbertese labourers and two English women from the Women’s Voluntary Service.

This year is the 60th anniversary of the Grapple nuclear tests, yet the British authorities continue to resist recognition and compensation for the nuclear veterans, who face adverse health effects common to survivors of US and French nuclear testing across the region.

In this seminar, Nic Maclellan presents research drawn from his forthcoming book “Grappling with the Bomb” (ANU Press), based on archival research and interviews with nuclear survivors in Fiji, New Zealand and Kiribati.


Nic Maclellan works as a journalist and researcher in the Pacific islands. As a correspondent with Islands Business magazine (Fiji) and other regional media, he has written widely on environment, development and demilitarization in the Pacific islands. He is also a regular contributor of the international and regional review for The Contemporary Pacific.

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