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"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Nuclear-Field Depressor  
  A device that causes nuclear-powered devices to stop working.  

In Asimov's Foundation series, when a device is referred to as being "nuclear-powered' it means that it has its own nuclear power source.

"Our few survivors have reported that the Mule's poss ... enemy's possession of a new weapon. A nuclear-field depressor."

"A what?"

Ovall said, "Most of our ships were lost because their nuclear weapons failed them. It could not have happened by either accident or sabotage. It must have been a weapon of the Mule. It didn't work perfectly; the effect was intermittent; there were ways to neutralize - my dispatches were not detailed. But you see that such a tool would change the nature of war and, possibly, make our entire fleet obsolete."

From Foundation and Empire, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Doubleday in 1952
Additional resources -

Thanks to Gatomon41 for pointing this one out.

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