30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Nuclear Proliferation and Accidents

Jul 23, 2012 | Briefing Book
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.

Apr 27, 2012 | Briefing Book
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.

Dec 5, 2011 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 5, 2011 – India's "peaceful nuclear explosion" on 18 May 1974 caught the United States by surprise in part because the intelligence community had not been looking for signs that a test was in the works.

Jul 27, 2011 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., July 27, 2011 - The United States and Great Britain undertook a secret diplomatic campaign in the late 1970s to prevent a major nuclear proliferation threat – Pakistan's attempted covert purchasing of "gray area" technology for its nuclear weapons program – according to recently declassified "NODIS" (no distribution) State department telegrams published today by the National Security Archive. The Archive obtained the documents through a mandatory declassification review request. The documents do not mention the name A. Q.

May 26, 2011 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 26, 2011 - The U.S. government secretly helped France develop its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program, and much earlier than previously realized, according to declassified documents compiled and edited by National Security Archive senior analyst William Burr and published jointly with the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, an Archive partner.

Dec 21, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., December 21, 2010 - The Wikileaks database of purloined State Department cable traffic includes revelations, published in the Washington Post and the New York Times about tensions in U.S.-Pakistan relations on key nuclear issues, including the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and the disposition of a stockpile of weapons-grade highly-enriched uranium. (Note 1) These frictions are not surprising because the Pakistani nuclear weapons program has been a source of anxiety for U.S. policymakers, since the late 1970s, when they discovered that Pakistani metallurgist A.Q.

Aug 11, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., August 11, 2010 - The next nuclear policy challenge for the Obama administration, right after Senate action on the New START Treaty, will be Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which President Obama sees as a condition for a world free of nuclear weapons. As he declared in his Hradcany Square speech, "After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned." Most U.S. presidents since Dwight D.

Jun 16, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., June 16, 2010 - U.S. presidents long before President Obama have sought an international fissile material cutoff off treaty but the reasons they have failed remain with us today, according to declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive. The proposed treaty would cut off the worldwide production of fissile material--plutonium and highly-enriched uranium--for nuclear weapons. (Note 1) According to Dwight D.

Apr 8, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., April 8, 2010 - The new START Treaty signed today in Prague represents "real" but "modest" cuts in strategic nuclear forces comparable to some Cold War alternatives but still higher than the most far-reaching proposals considered by Presidents Reagan and Carter, according to documents posted today by the National Security Archive.

Jan 15, 2010 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., January 15, 2010 - To refute early 1960s novels and Hollywood films like Fail-Safe and Dr. Strangelove which raised questions about U.S. control over nuclear weapons, the Air Force produced a documentary film--"SAC [Strategic Air Command] Command Post"--to demonstrate its responsiveness to presidential command and its tight control over nuclear weapons.

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