Nic Maclellan

The latest person to join the LABRATS directory is Nic Maclellon.

Mic is a journalist working in the Pacific islands (correspondent for Islands Business magazine in Fiji), and writes regularly on nuclear issues for Inside Story and Pacnews.

In 2020, Nic was awarded the Sean Dorney Grant for Pacific Journalism by the Walkley Foundation.

In 2017 he published “Grappling with the Bomb” - a history of British nuclear testing in Kiribati, that is available for purchase or free download from ANU Press:

Grappling with the Bomb is a history of Britain’s 1950s program to test the hydrogen bomb, code name Operation Grapple. In 1957–58, nine atmospheric nuclear tests were held at Malden Island and Christmas Island—today, part of the Pacific nation of Kiribati. Nearly 14,000 troops travelled to the central Pacific for the UK nuclear testing program—many are still living with the health and environmental consequences.

Based on archival research and interviews with nuclear survivors, Grappling with the Bomb presents i-Kiribati woman Sui Kiritome, British pacifist Harold Steele, businessman James Burns, Fijian sailor Paul Ah Poy, English volunteers Mary and Billie Burgess and many other witnesses to Britain’s nuclear folly.

Nic has also written a number of stories on nuclear survivors in the Pacific for the Australian website “Inside Story”

Nuclear Testing and Racism in the Pacisic Island.

Nic has also written about Nuclear Testing and Racism in the Pacific Islands in The Palgrave handbook of ethnicity:

During the Cold War, between 1946 and 1996, the United States, United Kingdom, and France used Oceania as a laboratory for nuclear testing. The deserts and islands of Australia and the Pacific were perceived as vast, “empty” spaces, suitable for the testing of atomic bombs and thermonuclear weapons. More than 310 atmospheric and underground nuclear tests were conducted by the Western powers in their colonial dependencies or United Nations trust territories. Debate over colonialism, racism, and ethnic identity was a central feature of this nuclear era. The policies of the Western powers promoted a “nuclear racism” against Pacific Islanders, based on a racialized hierarchy of “civilized” and “primitive” peoples. These notions of racial superiority opened the way for medical experiments on Pacific Islanders affected by radioactive fallout, without free, prior, and informed consent.

Beyond this, the radioactive contamination of land, water, and food had direct and indirect impacts on the cultural identity of Pacific Islanders. Cultural practices – from reliance on fishing and traditional root crops to the use of coconut oil in children’s hair – increased the risk of exposure to hazardous radioactive isotopes. The racialized hierarchy of the nuclear workplace also meant that colonial troops and local laborers were often allocated dirty, difficult, and dangerous jobs that increased their risk. In turn, the long struggle for a nuclear-free and independent Pacific contributed to the creation of a collective sense of regional identity, as a defining element of contemporary Pacific cultural identity.

The full article can be viewed here:

69 views0 comments

© LABRATS. All Rights Reserved -  EMAIL:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

LABRATS International, PO Box 187, CARMARTHEN, SA31 9EW - Tel: + 44 20 3286 3988