Jonathan Hogg: “Keep Orkney Active Not Radioactive’: Uranium activism, global supply politics, and nuclear colonialism, 1976-1979’

3:30pm - 5:00pm / Wednesday 29th April 2020 / Venue: Lecture Theatre 2 Rendall Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Department
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This presentation explores the Orkney ‘No Uranium’ campaign movement that developed in the 1970s. It was was created in direct response to efforts to drill test bore holes on mainland Orkney in 1976, following the broad impact of the 1973 Oil Crisis. After embedding the perspectives of the Orkney activist movement within the politics of British uranium supply, the presentation offers another layer of interpretation that is global in scope. Building on the work of Gabrielle Hecht, I argue that because UK-based uranium mining proved to be non-essential (largely because the UK had secret contracts with uranium mines in South African occupied Namibia into the 1980s), the Orkney case study indirectly illuminates another way that Britain’s ‘nuclearity’ was inherently, and powerfully, colonial in the Cold War era. The interpretation presented here is largely based on research conducted at Orkney Library and Archives, The National Archives (Kew), and National Records of Scotland (Edinburgh).