30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Nuclear Proliferation and Accidents

Feb 28, 2014 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., February 28, 2014 – Sixty years ago, on 1 March 1954 (28 February on this side of the International Dateline), on Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands, the U.S. government staged the largest nuclear test in American history. The BRAVO shot in the Castle thermonuclear test series had an explosive yield of 15 megatons, 1000 times that of the weapon that destroyed Hiroshima and nearly three times the 6 megatons that its planners expected.
Dec 16, 2013 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 16, 2013 – The Soviet Union assisted the United States in its effort to curb South Africa's nuclear program in August 1977 when Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev sent President Jimmy Carter a message that Moscow's spy satellites had noticed signs of nuclear weapons test preparations at a site in the Kalahari Desert. Very quickly the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) directed spy satellites to photograph the site which intelligence analysts later agreed was geared to nuclear testing. The U.S.
Nov 22, 2013 | Briefing Book
Washington, DC, November 22, 2013 – The final shipment of highly enriched uranium from former Soviet nuclear warheads to the U.S. on November 14, and President Obama's award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former Senator Richard Lugar on November 20, have brought new public attention to the underappreciated success story of the Nunn-Lugar initiative — the subject of a new research project by the National Security Archive, which organized the first "critical oral history" gathering this fall of U.S. and Russian veterans of Nunn-Lugar.
Nov 22, 2013 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 22, 2013 – The arrest of a Pakistani national, Arshed Pervez in July 1987 on charges of illegal nuclear procurement roiled U.S.-Pakistan relations and sharpened divisions within the Reagan administration, according to recently declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project.
Oct 7, 2013 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., October 7, 2013 – A nuclear accident never produced a nuclear detonation, but according to a new book by Eric Schlosser every nuclear-tipped missile "is an accident waiting to happen, a potential act of mass murder." Schlosser's book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Incident, and the Illusion of Safety (Penguin Press, 2013) includes a truly sobering account of safety breakdowns and failures from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Aug 2, 2013 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 2, 2013 – The United States and Soviet Union conducted underground testing that sometimes produced significant "venting" of radioactive gases and particles which crossed international borders, even after signing the Limited Test Ban Treaty fifty years ago, in August 1963. That posed potential health hazards, but also created problems for U.S.-Soviet relations, according to documents recently uncovered through archival research. To minimize the problem, both superpowers tacitly agreed to keep their disagreements secret.
Jun 25, 2013 | Briefing Book
Argentine Documents on the Yellowcake Sale
Apr 23, 2013 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 23, 2013 – China was exporting nuclear materials to Third World countries without safeguards beginning in the early 1980s, and may have given Pakistan weapons design information in the early years of its clandestine program, according to recently declassified CIA records. The formerly Top Secret reports, published today by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, are the CIA's first-ever declassifications of allegations that Beijing supported Islamabad's nuclear ambitions.
Feb 22, 2013 | Briefing Book
The Clinton Administration and the Indian Nuclear Test That Didn't Happen — 1995-1996 Washington, D.C., February 22, 2013 – In the last months of 1995, U.S intelligence agencies detected signs of nuclear test preparations at India's test site in Pokhran, but the satellite photos that analysts studied were "as clear as mud," according to declassified documents published today by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project.
Nov 19, 2012 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., November 19, 2012 – For decades, U.S. command-control-and-communications (C3) systems were deeply vulnerable to nuclear attack, according to a recently declassified Pentagon study. The document, a top secret internal history of the highly complex procedures that connected the White House and senior civilian and military leaders with local commanders awaiting orders to launch bombers and missiles, details sometimes harrowing reports about systemic weaknesses that could have jeopardized U.S. readiness to respond to a nuclear attack.

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