AUTHORReynolds, Wayne
TITLEAustralia's Bid for the Atomic Bomb
PUBLISHERMelbourne University Press
CITYCarlton, Australia

This book describes the history and policies that influenced Australia’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. The author’s premise is that Australia’s post-World War II defense policy was founded on a partnership with Britain to develop nuclear weapons. The policy failed because Britain’s initial involvement with Australia and South Africa, partners in Britain’s post-war “Fourth Empire”, was deemed unnecessary by the UK when Anglo-American co-operation on nuclear weapons resumed in 1957. Up to that point Australia had provided test sites, human resources, and materials that were essential to the joint program. The book chronicles the history of the program beginning with the participation of British and Australian scientists in the Manhattan Project during World War II, the establishment of the nation’s atomic energy program in 1946, the deployment of atomic bombers, the development and testing of rockets at the Woomera Range, the proposed reactor at Snowy River, testing of British atomic bombs at Maralinga test site, and the plans for the Lucas Heights research reactor (not built until 2006). The author contends that although the cooperative effort failed, it had a large role in shaping Australia’s domestic and foreign policy until the late 1950s.

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