Article ID: CBB103570113

Nuclear reach: Uranium prospection and the global ambitions of the French nuclear programme, 1945–65 (2021)


By the 1960s, French uranium geologists were prospecting on every continent. This paper considers the link between this form of ‘nuclear reach’ and the weapons tests, reactor sales, and scientific exchanges that characterised the French programme. The shifting status of uranium during the early nuclear age and the prospection of uranium by French geologists reveals much about the evolving ambitions of the French nuclear leadership. Geophysics and ore concentration, alongside nucleonics and reactor design, were lynchpin techniques of this era, and the diplomatic and commercial stakes involved were central to the calculations of the French nuclear leadership.

Associated with

Article Benoît Pelopidas; Sébastien Philippe (2021) Unfit for purpose: Reassessing the development and deployment of French nuclear weapons (1956–1974). Cold War History (pp. 243-260). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Hecht, Gabrielle
Pichardo Hernández, Hugo
Dennis Romberg
Alan P. Dobson
Anna Konieczna
Lazarín Miranda, Federico
科学史研究 Kagakusi Kenkyu (History of Science)
The Journal of Transport History
Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences
French Historical Studies
Cold War History
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh
University of Nebraska Press
Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group
Palgrave Macmillan
MIT Press
Nuclear power; atomic energy
International relations
Cold War
Science and politics
Tanakadate, Aikitu
Lejay, Pierre
Coulomb, Jean Marie François
Becquerel, Henri
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
20th century, late
20th century, early
19th century
United States
Latin America
West Germany
Iberia, Líneas Aéreas de España

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