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"[Science fiction] is the only kind of writing that allows you to look at the world we live in and change one piece at a time."
- Frederik Pohl

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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