Washington, D.C., July 23, 2012 – The possibility that highly motivated countries, such as Iran in today's environment, could secretly build gas centrifuge plants to produce highly enriched uranium was foreshadowed over fifty years ago by senior officials at the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and its contractors. They perceived that countries determined to acquire a nuclear weapons capability could secretly build gas centrifuge facilities to enrich uranium, although it required solving complex technical problems.
Nuclear Proliferation and Accidents
Washington, D.C., April 27, 2012 – Tensions between the United States and Pakistan rose through the 1980s over intelligence reports that suggested to U.S. officials that Pakistani leader Zia ul-Haq had repeatedly lied to them about his country's nuclear program, according to recently declassified records published today by the National Security Archive and the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project. Zia's apparent mendacity posed an immediate challenge to U.S.
Washington, D.C., March 24, 2022 – At four in the morning on 3 October 1979, Colonel William Odom, military assistant to national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, received a phone call from the Pentagon’s National Military Command Center informing him that an Air Force missile warning system had detected a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launch off the coast of Oregon. As it turned out, the situation was far from dangerous, but Odom had found it alarming.
Washington, D.C., June 7, 2021 – On June 7, 1981, 40 years ago today, Israel attacked and partially destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear research reactor at Tuwaitha, using U.S. supplied F-15 and F-16 aircraft to carry out the attack. Ten Iraqi soldiers and one French engineer were killed during the airstrike. Apparently, the Israeli raid took President Ronald Reagan and his advisers completely by surprise, yet their predecessors, including President Jimmy Carter, were aware of the strong possibility of an attack.
Washington, D.C., June 18, 2020 – American and South Korean assessments of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il shifted during the course of negotiations in the 1990s over the North’s controversial nuclear program, according to recently declassified documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and posted today by the nongovernmental National Security Archive at The George Washington University.
Washington, D.C., October 16, 2014 – Fifty years ago today, on 16 October 1964, the People's Republic of China (PRC) joined the nuclear club when it tested a nuclear device at its Lop Nur test site in Inner Mongolia. For several years, U.S. intelligence had been monitoring Chinese developments, often with anxiety, hampered by the lack of adequate sources. Early on, opinions within the U.S.
Washington D.C., April 10, 2020 - The NPT is appropriately acknowledged as a critical means of protecting global security against the danger of unchecked nuclear proliferation. But the treaty has had its detractors – and not just among rogue states but governments in good international standing – as a new posting of declassified documents from the nongovernmental National Security Archive shows.
Washington D.C., December 5, 2019 – Cooperative threat reduction by the U.S., Ukraine, and the Russian Federation successfully eliminated the world’s third largest nuclear weapons force in the 1990s – the ICBMs, strategic bombers, and nuclear warheads left in Ukraine when the Soviet Union dissolved in December 1991 – according to declassified documents from all three countries published today by the National Security Archive.
Washington D.C., September 22, 2019 – An unidentified flash on 22 September 1979 in the far South Atlantic had a “90% plus” probability of being a nuclear test, according to a CIA finding from later that year. The document, among others uncovered recently through archival research, adds significant weight to the argument that the flash, detected by a U.S. VELA satellite, was not a natural event, as White House science advisers later insisted.