Clouds, airplanes, trucks and people: carrying radioisotopes to and across Mexico
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Universidad de Granada
RadioisotopesNuclearizationAtoms for PeaceFalloutRadiochemistry
Mateos, G., S.-D. Edna. «Clouds, Airplanes, Trucks and People: Carrying Radioisotopes to and across Mexico». Dynamis: Acta Hispanica Ad Medicinae Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam, Vol. 35, Núm. 2, 1, p. 279-05.
SponsorshipCONACyT (152879); PAPIIT-UNAM research-grant (IN4003143)
The aim of this paper is to describe the early stages of Mexican nuclearization that took place in contact with radioisotopes. This history requires a multilayered narrative with an emphasis in North-South asymmetric relations, and in the value of education and training in the creation of international asymmetrical networks. Radioisotopes were involved in exchanges with the United States since the late 1940s, but also with Canada. We also describe the context of implementation of Eisenhower´s Atoms for Peace initiative in Mexico that opened the door to training programs at both the Comisión Nacional de Energía Nuclear and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Radioisotopes became the best example of the peaceful applications of atomic energy, and as such they fitted the Mexican nuclearization process that was and still is defined by its commitment to pacifism. In 1955 Mexico became one of the 16 members of the atomic fallout network established by the United Nations. As part of this network, the first generation of Mexican (women) radio-chemists was trained. By the end of the 1960s, radioisotopes and biological markers were being produced in a research reactor, prepared and distributed by the CNEN within Mexico. We end up this paper with a brief reflection on North-South nuclear exchanges and the particularities of the Mexican case.