Skip to content

September 12, 2018


#AWW 2018 Atomic Thunder (NF)

by N@ncy


Who is  Elizabeth Tynan?

  1. Elizabeth Tynan is a science writer and academic
  2. at the James Cook University  in Queensland, Australia.
  3. She completed a PhD on aspects of British nuclear testing in Australia.


What is Atomic Thunder about?

  1. Britain wanted to join the nuclear club.
  2. Britain needed Australia’s geographic assets (testing ground)
  3. …and its distance from the British electorate.
  4. Britain conducted three atomic explosions at
  5. the Monte Bello Islands off the coast of Western Australia
  6. …and nine at Maralinga and Emu.
  7. This book chronicles the scandals that ensued:
  8. 1950 Australian prime minister Robert Menzies
  9. agreed to atomic tests without informing his government
  10. the overall levels and distribution of radioactivity
  11. …that wreaked havoc on Indigenous communities
  12. …and turned the land into a radioactive wasteland
  13. the uncovering of the extensive secrecy around British testing
  14. This book is the most comprehensive account of the whole saga.
  15.  After the British departed they left an unholy mess behind.




Strong point:

  1. Mw Tynan shows in the last chapters
  2. the transformation Australia society has endured.
  3. What a difference a generation makes
  4. …layers of secrecy and inertia are lifted!
  5. Investigative journalists and media are not
  6. ….interested in comforting the powerful
  7. No more stonewalling….
  8. The people of Australia demand accountability!

Quote: pg 290

  • “Britain knew in the 1960’s that radioactivity at its former nucelar
  • test site in Australia was worse than first thought.
  • But it did not tell the Australians.

Quote: pg 300

  • Australia in the 1950s and early 1960s was essentially
  • ….an atomic banana republic
  • useful only for its resources…especially uranium and land.”
  • Chilling and selfish attitude of Britain
  • treating Australia as a lackey. Disgraceful


Last thoughts:

  1. The whole story is shocking but while I was reading
  2. chapter 9 Clean-ups and Cover-ups I  put my hands
  3. over my lips in absolute horror.
  4. Clean up crews were working 12-hr shifts scooping
  5. up topsoil that was liberally
  6. …dotted with plutonium-contaminated fragments.
  7. No-one says any thing about this to George Owen (British Army recruit).
  8. After 5 months working at Maralinga he is discharged.
  9. Soon after he notices strange growths on his hands.
  10. This is plutonium-239….
  11. 1 millionth of a gram may be sufficient to
  12. cause lung cancer if inhaled.
  13. How much dust did Owen inhale?
  14. Speechless….
  15. #MustRead
  16. PS…I read it in one day…could NOT put it own!





7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sep 30 2018

    I’m currently reading about the Flint water crisis and am similarly horrified. Sometimes the more you know, the more frightening the world seems!


    • Sep 30 2018

      Tell me…..what is the name of the Flint Water Crisis book…I must read it!


      • Oct 28 2018

        It’s called Poisoned City and I’d definitely recommend it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oct 28 2018

        Thanks for the feedback….!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. #20BooksofAutumn 2018 | NancyElin
  2. #NonficNov week 1 | NancyElin
  3. Q&A Australian Reading Month 2019 | NancyElin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: