June 28, 2005

Falklands ships had nuclear arms

Nuclear weapons were on board Royal Navy ships dispatched from Gibraltar to the Falklands in 1982, the official history of the conflict reveals. The Ministry of Defence said in December 2003 that some vessels were carrying nuclear weapons but Professor Freedman's book goes into specific details. Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman's book commissioned by the government draws on public evidence and secret documents.

There were no plans to use the depth charges but removal could have delayed the Task Force by 36 hours, he said. The frigates Brilliant and Broadsword were each said to be carrying a normal complement of two nuclear depth charges. [via BBC NEWS]
June 23, 2005

AAAS Expert Proposes 'Layered Defense' To Protect Against Smuggled Nuclear Materials

Existing monitors for detecting smuggled nuclear weapons components at U.S. ports are 'an important first step,' AAAS expert Benn Tannenbaum told policymakers at a 21 June hearing before U.S. policymakers. But, he added, 'More needs to be done to protect the United States from smuggled nuclear weapons' because current portal monitors probably could not detect even a few kilograms of highly enriched uranium, even if only lightly shielded. [via Science Daily]
June 20, 2005

Censored Japan A-bomb stories published

Censored stories written by an American journalist who sneaked into Japan soon after Nagasaki was leveled by a U.S. atomic bomb have surfaced six decades later. They offer an unflinching account about the 'wasteland of war' and its radiation-sickened inhabitants. [via CNN.com]

The full stories can be found at http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/specials/0506/0617weller.html.
June 17, 2005

No Sign Of Long-Lost H-Bomb

The first government search in decades for a nuclear bomb lost off the Georgia coast in 1958 failed to uncover any trace of the sunken weapon, the Air Force said in a report Friday.

A damaged B-47 bomber jettisoned the Mark-15 weapon into a sound about 15 miles from Savannah in February 1958 after colliding with a fighter jet during a training flight.

The military never recovered the bomb and gave up searching for 46 years until last year, when a retired Air Force pilot claimed his private search team had detected unusually high radiation levels in the sound.

Government scientists investigated the claims, taking radiation readings and soil samples from a football field-sized area of water Sept. 30. The report said varying radiation levels were observed, but they were from natural elements in the sediment on the sea floor. [via CBS News]
June 15, 2005

Iran changes story on plutonium experiments - U.N.

Iran has admitted to experimenting with producing plutonium, which can be used to fuel atomic bombs, much more recently than it originally told the U.N. nuclear watchdog, according to a draft U.N. speech.

Iran had first told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that its last experiments with the reprocessing of plutonium took place in 1993 but revised that date to 1998, according to a draft speech deputy IAEA chief Pierre Goldschmidt is due to make to the agency's board of governors on Thursday.

The speech, obtained by Reuters, said the IAEA had asked Iran to confirm that one bottle of a solution containing plutonium 'had been processed in 1995 while the solution in the second one had been purified in 1998.' It added that Iran had confirmed this in a letter dated May 26, 2005.[via Yahoo! News]

Iranian nuclear chief admits ties to Pakistan

It's the closest any Iranian official has come to admitting the role Pakistan played in the earliest stages of Iran's nuclear program.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, acknowledged Pakistan's help.

"I do have information that some years ago, through intermediaries, we received pieces for centrifuges," he told NBC News in Farsi. [via MSNBC.com]
June 14, 2005

Bomb-building facility opens its doors

The government is offering a rare glimpse of the massive machines used to enrich uranium for the "Little Boy" bomb -- the first atomic weapon used in war, dropped 60 years ago in August on Hiroshima, Japan. (I really wanted to go.) [via CNN.com]
June 11, 2005

Review: Amchitka and the Bomb: Nuclear Testing in Alaska

Book CoverSome forty years ago on an island in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska, the United States conducted the first of three underground nuclear tests. In Amchitka and the Bomb: Nuclear Testing in Alaska
, author Dean Kohlkoff recounts the history and politics of these often forgotten nuclear tests. The book begins with a brief history of the Aleutian Islands, including Amchitka. After surviving as a battle zone during World War II, these islands then became the focus of the Cold War. Readers of the recent Edward Teller biography will be familiar with his efforts toward testing in Alaska.

The first of these nuclear tests (1965), code-named Long Shot, was designed to determine whether the blast's shock wave could be distinguished from earthquakes. Kohlkoff carefully examines the social and political responses to the testing, as well as how the Aleut population responded to the pressures from the government to continue testing.

As the next test, Shot Milrow, was planned, opposition to the testing continued to grow. This opposition was lead by early activist groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. In fact, the origins of Greenpeace can be directly attributed to the testing on Amchitka (learn more here ). Kohlkoff frames these efforts against the pressures of the Cold War to continue testing.

Finally, in 1971, the United States detonated the largest underground nuclear test. This test was a 5.1 megaton blast, code-named Cannikin. The blast was set a mile beneath the earth, and lifted Amchitka one foot in the air, drowning its rugged cliffs in waves two stories high. The test was felt throughout Alaska as a massive earthquake.

Pressure to control the arms race ended the need for such a remote testing location for high yield weapons. This book is an excellent account of this often forgotten chapter in America's nuclear history. Amchitka Island is once again a National Wildlife Refuge but concerns about radioactive contamination still linger. Available at amazon.com

June 10, 2005

Iran has frozen work at nuclear site--UN diplomats

Experts from the U.N. nuclear watchdog have inspected an underground uranium enrichment plant in Iran and verified that Tehran has kept its word by freezing all sensitive nuclear work there, diplomats said on Friday.

A team from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) went to the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz in central Iran on Thursday and verified that no activities related to the production of uranium fuel were taking place.

"The IAEA went to Natanz and, among other things, verified the suspension," a Western diplomat familiar with the IAEA's investigation of Iran said on condition of anonymity. [via IYahoo! News]

New Biographies add to the site!

We have recently added three new biographies to the website. Sir James Chadwick, Philip Morrison, and Herbert York.

Keep an eye on the site, for we have several things planned through the summer.

the atomicarchive.com team
June 09, 2005

North Korea Admits Building More Nuclear Bombs

North Korea is boosting its arsenal of nuclear weapons, the communist state's Vice-Foreign Minister, Kim Gye-gwan, has told ABC News. He said North Korea had enough atomic bombs to protect itself against attack by the US and was building more.

He refused to say whether North Korean missiles could reach the US. [via ABC News]
June 08, 2005

U.S. to end fight with U.N.'s ElBaradei-diplomats

The United States will tell Mohamed ElBaradei it is prepared to drop its opposition to his bid for a third term as head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog but will demand he get tougher on Iran, diplomats said on Wednesday. [via Yahoo! News]

North Korea agreed to return to six-party talks

The United States said yesterday North Korea agreed to return to six-party talks on ending its suspected nuclear weapons programs, and China said the negotiations could resume in Beijing within weeks.

"I think it will be pretty soon, in the next few weeks," Wang Guangya, Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters. "I understand that it will be Beijing."

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, "The North Koreans said they would return to the six-party process but did not give us a time certain when they would." [via Canada.com]
June 06, 2005

U.S., North Korean officials hold talks in New York

U.S. and North Korean officials met in New York on Monday for the first time in nearly a month after Washington urged Pyongyang to return to stalled talks on its nuclear weapons program, a U.S. official said.

'I can confirm that there was a meeting this morning between North Korea and the United States,' said the official in Washington, who asked not to be named. [via Yahoo! News]

Iran extends its nuclear freeze

Iran said it will extend its suspension of uranium enrichment until the end of July to give European negotiators time to prepare a proposal it can accept, but Tehran also warned against wasting the opportunity to strike a deal. The announcement Sunday followed Iran's agreement last month to review a European Union proposal for a new round of negotiations in the summer. Tehran's decision injects some breathing space into the international crisis over its nuclear program, at least temporarily. [via CNN.com]
June 02, 2005

Simpler And Safer Nuclear Plants?

In a bid to make a comeback in the United States a generation after the Three Mile Island accident, the nuclear-power industry is addressing two of its major bugaboos - safety and cost - through technology. Its answer: a new generation of reactors that are simpler to operate and maintain than today's models.

Over the past two months, one major U.S. utility and a separate consortium of utilities have signed agreements with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to split the cost of testing a streamlined federal program for licensing the construction and operation of new nuclear plants. The goal is to begin installing these new reactors by 2010. [via CBS News]
June 01, 2005

Drawing uncovered of 'Nazi nuclear device'?

Historians working in Germany and the US claim to have found a 60-year-old diagram showing a Nazi nuclear bomb.
It is the only known drawing of a "nuke" made by Nazi experts and appears in a report held by a private archive.

The researchers who brought it to light say the drawing is a rough schematic and does not imply the Nazis built, or were close to building, an atomic bomb.

But a detail in the report hints some Nazi scientists may have been closer to that goal than was previously believed. [via

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