Nuclear Weapon Nations and Arsenals


There are currently five nations considered to be "nuclear weapons nations". In order of acquisition of nuclear weapons these are: the United States of America, Soviet Union/Russia, United Kingdom, France, and China. In actual fact, several more nations have developed nuclear weapons but do not publicly admit to having deployed them (in particular India, Israel, and Pakistan). The three smaller Soviet successor states that inherited nuclear arsenals (Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus) have now relinquished all nuclear warheads which have been removed to Russia.


7.1 Nuclear Weapon Treaties

The five nation nuclear "club" is codified in international law by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signed in 1970. This treaty declares that only the five nations mentioned above may lawfully possess nuclear weapons, but that all other nations may not be prohibited from acquiring peaceful nuclear technology. It also specifies that the five nuclear powers must seek to reduce and eliminate their arsenals as quickly as possible. No nation has admitted deploying a nuclear arsenal since this date, indicating that it has successfully stigmatized nuclear weapons acquisition. Also no signatory to the pact has yet successfully acquired nuclear weapons after joining NPT. It has not however dissuaded several nations from pursuing these weapons, in some cases successfully. At present, about 178 of the 185 member nations of the UN have signed the treaty. Holdouts include: India, Israel, and Pakistan; all of whom are believed to have nuclear weapons capability, if not actual weapons. Some nations who are parties to the treaty have pursued, or believed to be pursuing weapons are: Iraq, North Korea, Libya, and Iran. South Africa, which recently admitted to having developed an arsenal in the 1980s, has destroyed the arsenal and has since signed the pact.

It should be noted that although Iraq made substantial progress in pursuing nuclear weapons while a member of NPT, no NPT safeguarded facilities contributed to this effort. In fact, no safeguarded facility has ever been shown to contribute to a nuclear weapon effort after having been placed under safeguards (other than to simply increase the technical experience of the operating nation). It is only through secret programs, conducted entirely outside NPT, that nations have been able to pursue nuclear weapons. While the NPT regime is scarcely foolproof, it has been effective in preventing the diversion of civilian nuclear technology and facilities placed under safeguards.

Four nations that came into existence with the breakup of the Soviet Union inherited nuclear weapons: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. It was agreed by these nations that Russia would be the designated successor to the Soviet Union under NPT. All have now signed the NPT, and all nuclear warheads have been removed to Russian soil.

The NPT was originally of limited duration, its initial 25 year period expired in 1995. The NPT Review and Extension Conference was held in New York from 17 April to 12 May, 1995. Of the 178 signatories, 175 attended. More than half of the signatories (111) sponsored renewal, this time indefinitely instead of a limited duration. As a result of majority sponsorship, the treaty extension was enacted without a formal vote. Three resolutions were also adopted that reaffirmed, clarified, and strengthened the basic NPT approach. Three signatories to the original pact, such as Iran, opposed extending the pact at all and boycotted the proceedings.

There is a non-treaty alliance called the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to which most industrialized countries belong. This organization restricts the access of dual-use technology to countries suspected of pursuing nuclear arms.

Other treaties restricting nuclear arms include:

The other states however cast about to find an alternate avenue of treaty approval, and Australia offered to submit the treaty directly to the UN General Assembly for approval. On 9 September a resolution calling for approval was introduced into the UN General Assembly by Australia, and it was approved by voice vote the next day. It was opened for signature Tuesday, 24 September when President Clinton followed by the foreign ministers of the four other declared nuclear powers -- Russia, China, Britain and France -- all signed.

The CTBT will not enter into force, though, until all 44 countries with nuclear reactors have signed and ratified it. Of these states, 38 have signed. The six remaining states were Algeria, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, North Korea, and Pakistan. India has stated definitely that it will not sign the pact, and Pakistan has stated that it would not agree to the pact until India does so. The treaty requires a conference in three to four years for members to decide how to accelerate the ratification process should India and others still refuse to join the pact. Clinton is expected to ask the US Senate to ratify the treaty early in 1997, according to US officials. But the United States will not deposit the ratification papers until all the nuclear powers as well as those suspected of having or close to having a bomb -- India, Pakistan and Israel -- are ready to do so.


Declared States

In the game of comparing nuclear arsenal sizes a number of different methods of measurement can be used. The most popular are the number of warheads, and the total megatonnage of the arsenal. Number of warheads is meaningful when each warhead is large enough to destroy the target it is used against. Targets large enough to require many warheads are relatively few in number, even if the warheads are small (as nuclear weapons go), so warhead number is a fairly good indicator of the effective arsenal size. Megatonnage provides a more direct measure of the gross destructive power of the arsenal, and is especially important for estimating long range effects (like fallout). Since the destructive potential of a nuclear weapon is not necessarily proportional to its size, an alternative to total megatonnage has been proposed called equivalent megatonnage. The equivalent megatonnage of a warhead is its yield in megatons raised to the two-thirds power: Y^(2/3). This metric assumes that blast is the important destructive effect, as it is against most structures. The area affected by the thermal flash is directly proportional to size however, and this casualty producing effect thus dominates in large weapons.

An additional complication in discussing arsenal sizes with respect to the United States and Russia is that these nations are currently "building down" from their bloated Cold War arsenals. Both nations thus have large numbers of superfluous weapons that have yet to be dismantled, but are not part of their official arsenals. I have not included inventories of these retired weapons (mainly because data is unavailable), but these weapons do still exist and could be put back into service on short notice if the decision to do so were made. Even after dismantlement, the expensive nuclear materials will still exist, often in the form of fabricated weapons components, and manufacturing new weapons from them could be undertaken relatively rapidly.

United States of America

Since the invention of nuclear weapons, the US has built about 70,000 warheads, and dismantled about 58,000 of them with most of the nuclear materials being recycled into new weapons. The US currently has about 12,200 weapons in existence, but only 9250 (approx.) are in active service. The remaining 2950 or so are retired weapons either awaiting dismantlement, making up part of the inactive reserve, or both. At its numeric peak in 1967, the US arsenal had some 32,500 warheads.

The US has produced no new nuclear warheads in the past five years (the last fissile bomb core was fabricated in December 1989). The US is currently dismantling a large part of its existing nuclear arsenal, and has no plans at present for building any more nuclear weapons, or any new strategic delivery systems. If START II is implemented, by 2003 the US plans to have about 4450 warheads in service (the last time there were fewer than this was in 1957 when 5828 warheads existed) with a combined hedge stockpile and inactive reserve of 5000. The hedge stockpile will contain fully operational weapons that are kept in storage away from their delivery systems (so that they are not immediately available), there are currently no weapons assigned to this category. The inactive reserve contains weapons that are intact but not in operational condition. Extensive work may be required to return an inactive weapon to service (e.g. expansion of tritium production facilities, followed by stockpiling of additional tritium; modification of inactive warheads to mate with current delivery systems, etc.). 350 W-84 warheads are currently assigned to the inactive reserve.

On 1 March 1995, President Clinton declared 212.5 tonnes of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium to be excess to national security needs. Since that time additional information about the amount, locations, and forms of this material has been released. The excess plutonium (38.2 tonnes) is stored at 10 locations in Washington, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico (two locations), Texas, Ohio, New York, Tennessee and South Carolina. The HEU (174.3 tonnes) is stored at six locations in Washington, Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and South Carolina. It is expected that the HEU will be blended with natural uranium to produce some 7000 tonnes of civilian power plant fuel over 8-10 years. About 10 tonnes of HEU has already been placed under international safeguards at the Oak Ridge Y-12 site.

The excess HEU consists of 33 tonnes of >92% enrichment material, and 142 tonnes of 20-92% enrichment material. No HEU for weapons use has been produced since 1964, and production of HEU for use in naval reactors ended in 1991 with future needs to be met from the stockpile.

On 6 February 1996 US Dept. of Energy declassified significant additional information about plutonium stocks and their location. It was disclosed that since 1944 the US produced or acquired 111.4 tonnes of plutonium, principally for weapons programs. 93.5% was produced in government reactors, 5% was imported from 14 countries and 1.5% arose from commercial reactors.

89.3% of the 111.4 tonnes produced or acquired remains in the DOE/Department of Defense inventory (99.5 tonnes). The balance consists of plutonium used in the Nagasaki bomb and in weapons tests (3.4 tonnes, 3.1%), waste (3.1%), inventory differences (2.5%), fission and transmutation (1.1%), transfer to foreign countries (0.6%), decay (0.4%) and distribution to the civilian nuclear industry (0.1%).

Of the 99.5 tonnes in current inventory, 85 tonnes is weapons-grade plutonium (less than 7% Pu-240), 13.2 tonnes is "fuel-grade" (7-19% Pu-240) and 1.3 tonnes is reactor-grade (over 19% Pu-240) material. 38.2 tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium has been declared excess inventory, and will be disposed by (method of disposal currently undefined). The remaining 46.8 tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium appears to include plutonium contained in weapons still in the US stockpile, as well as an unspecified weapons material reserve. Of the excess inventory: 55.8% is located Pantex - presumably all in the form of fabricated weapon pits; 31.2% is located at Rocky Flats, and is thus inaccessible for weapons use at present since the facility has been shut down; most of the remaining 13% is distributed between Hanford, Los Alamos, and Savannah River.

A total of 90.5 tonnes of weapon grade plutonium was produced by the US. 54.5 tonnes of this was produced at Hanford, 36 tonnes was produced at Savannah River.


Three countries provided the bulk of the foreign-derived material: United Kingdom (5,384 kilograms), Canada (254.5 kg) and Taiwan (79.1 kg). 749 kilograms of plutonium that was transferred to 39 foreign countries between 1959 and 1991 under the US "Atoms for Peace" program. The plutonium was used for a variety of civilian purposes, primarily power reactor development under International Atomic Energy Agency supervision.

Current Nuclear Forces

The US is currently reducing and consolidating its strategic forces in keeping with the 1994 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). This plan envisions complying with the START II treaty (not yet in force) no later than 2003.

The US will be deactivating the 50 Peacekeeper missiles, and will rely solely on the Minuteman III as a land-based ICBM. Since the average age of the MM III inventory is already more than 20 years (last one assembled 11/30/78), a US$5.2 billion program will refurbish them and extend their life to 2020. This program will remanufacture the solid fuel boosters, upgrading the electronics, and upgrade accuracy to a CEP of 100 m after the turn of the century. Between 1998 and 2002 a total of 652 new guidance units will be produced for the MM III fleet. The MM III force will be based at Malmstrom AFB, Montana (200 missiles), Minot AFB, North Dakota (150 missiles), and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming (150 missiles). This redeployment will be completed by the fall of 1998 (at the end of 1996 about 65 missiles remained to be moved from Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota). Inactivated silos are being destroyed by explosive demolition as required by START I. On 13 September the 149th silo was blown up at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. The 150th and last silo at Ellsworth has been nominated as a National Historic Landmark.

The Ohio class SSBNs are the only ballistic missile submarines still in the US arsenal, all subs belonging to older classes have been decommissioned or converted to other uses. Ohio class is still being procured. Of the 18 planned boats, 17 have been commissioned, and the last one is under construction. The final boat, the Louisiana, will be commissioned in August 1997. The first 8 Ohio class subs were equipped with the Trident I missile. Starting with the 9th boat, the Tennessee, commissioned in March 1990, subsequent subs have been equipped with the D-5 Trident (Trident II). Under NPR the oldest 4 subs will be retired around 2003 for a fleet of 14, the remaining 4 Trident I boats will be converted to use the Trident II, allowing the Trident I to be retired. The Ohio fleet is based at Bangor, Washington and Kings Bay, Georgia with 8 subs each. Currently only Kings Bay supports the Trident II, it will reach its full strength of 10 boats when the Louisiana is commissioned. Eventually both bases will support 7 boats each. Trident II procurement continues, now the only US strategic missile program. Under Start I, the Trident II is limited to 8 warheads (its design capability is 14). This lower loading extends its range to over 11000 km. START II will lower the loading to five each, further extending the range. The patrol rate (proportion of fleet on patrol at any time) is unchanged from the Cold War: two-thirds of the fleet is on patrol at any time.

The B-1B is being converted to a conventional bombing role. By the end of 1997 B-1B will have been phased out as part of the US strategic nuclear forces (it will still be possible for them to carry nuclear weapons however). The B-52H force is has been scaled back to a total fleet of 71 planes, although only 44 are on active duty at any one time. Despite its age (the last was delivered in Oct. 1962) the B-52H airframe is estimated to be good for service at least to 2030 (this is 83 years after the B-52 program's inception). Plans for retrofits and upgrades (including reengining) of the B-52H are underway. The B-52H force will be split between Minot AFB, North Dakota, and Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. The Northrop Grumman B-2 continues to slowly enter service, with some delivered aircraft being sent back for upgrades as deployment proceeds. Two planes have not yet been delivered, the last one should be delivered by 31 January 1998. But six test planes will still need to be converted to operational configuration so that the full fleet of 21 that will not be operational until 2000. The first B-2 squadron, the 509th Bombardment Wing at Whiteman AFB, Missouri, will become operational in 1997 with 8 planes


Complete List of All U.S. Nuclear Weapons















15 - 16 Kt


Used in combat in 1945, never stockpiled; only 5 bomb assemblies completed, all retired by Nov 1950

Gun-assembly HEU bomb; "Little Boy" dropped on Hiroshima




Theoretical design, never produced

Low-efficiency plutonium implosion bomb






18, 20-23, 37, 49 Kt


Used in combat in 1945; mass production 4/47-4/49, 120 produced; all retired late 1950

Plutonium implosion bomb; "Fat Man", Model 1561; Mods 0, 1, 2





10,800 - 10,900

1, 3.5, 8, 14, 21, 22, 31 Kt


Entered service 3/49; produced 3/49-5/51; 550 produced (all mods);
Retired 7/52-5/53

Implosion fission bomb; redesigned weapon based on Mk-III Mod 1; first IFI weapon; first assembly-line produced nuclear weapon; used type C and D pits, composite Pu-HEU cores; 3 mods








Canceled 1951

Planned warhead for the Snark SSM cruise missile; Mk-4 bomb derivative




129 - 132

3,025 - 3,175

6, 16, 55, 60, 100, 120 Kt

Airburst or contact

Entered operational stockpile 5/52;
last retired 1/63;
140 bombs (all mods) produced

92 lens high efficiency implosion bomb; used type D pit, composite cores; first weapon with major size/weight reduction over Fat Man; used as primary (1st stage) in the first thermonuclear devices; 4 mods; first weapon to use auto IFI



39; 44


2,405 - 2,650; 2,600 (XW-5-X1)

same as Mk-5

Airburst or surface

Start of manufacture 4/54 (Regulus), 7/54 (Matador);
retired 7/61 - 1/63;
35 (Regulus), 65 (Matador) produced

Warhead for the Matador (MGM-1) and Regulus 1 (SSM-N-8) SSM cruise missiles; application to the Rascal air-to-surface canceled; first missile warhead; produced by modifying stockpile Mk-5 bombs





7,600 - 8,500

8, 26, 80, 154, 160 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured from 7/51 to early 1955; 1100 bombs (all mods) produced; last retired 1962

Improved high-yield lightweight Mk-4; 7 mods; some Mk-4Ds were converted Mk-6 Mod 0; early mods had 32 lens implosion system, Mod 2 and later had 60 lens system





1,645 - 1,700

8, 19, 22, 30, 31, 61 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 7/52 - 2/63; in service July 1952-1967; 1700 - 1800 produced

Mk-7 "Thor"; multipurpose light weight tactical bomb; 92 lens implosion system; 6-7 yields; 10 mods, PAL A used on late mods



30 - 30.5

54.8 - 56

900 - 1,100;
970 (W-7-X1 / X2);
983 (Betty)

90 T; 2 - 40 Kt

Airburst, surface, hydrostatic

W-7 warhead manufacture begun 12/53;
BOAR: stockpiled 1956 - 1963, 225 produced;
Corporal: stockpiled 1955 - 1965, 300 produced;
Honest John: stockpiled 1954 - 1960, 300 produced;
ADM: stockpiled 1955-1963, 300 produced;
Betty: stockpiled 6/55 - 1960, 225 produced;
Nike Hercules: canceled 1956

Multipurpose warhead - BOAR air-surface rocket, the Corporal (M-2) and Honest John (M-3) ballistic missiles, ADM, Betty Mk 90 ASW depth bomb, Nike Hercules SAM missile warhead (W-7-X1/X2); 7 yields, 4 mods; Corporal yield 2-40 Kt (several options), ADM yield low (90 T?), Betty yield 32 Kt




116 - 132

3,230 - 3,280

25 - 30 Kt

Pyrotechnic delay

Manufactured 11/51 - 5/53; in service 1/52 - 6/57; 40 produced (all mods)

Earth penetrating weapon, gun-assembly HEU bomb, nicknamed "Elsie" (for LC - light case), 2 mods; replaced by the Mk-11




Canceled May 1955

Gun-assembly warhead, intended for use as a cratering warhead for the Regulus missile


Artillery Shell

11.02 (280 mm)


803; 850

15 Kt

Mechanical time delay airburst

Manufactured 4/52 - 11/53;
Retired 5/57; 80 produced

Used in T-124, the first U.S. nuclear artillery shell; gun-assembly HEU weapon, modified TX-8; replaced 1-for-1 by W-19; only 20 280mm cannons were ever made

Mk-9 / T-4

Atomic Demolition Munition


120 - 200


Time delay

Stockpiled 1957;
retired 1963

The T-4 was built from recycled W-9 warheads; gun-assembly HEU weapon; replaced by W-45





1,750; 1,500

12 - 15 Kt


Canceled May 1952

"Airburst Elsie", a reduced size/ weight derivative of the Mk-8; superseded by the Mk-12





3,210 - 3,500


Pyrotechnic delay

Manufactured 1/56 - 1957; in service 1/56 - 1960; 40 produced

Improved Mk-8 gun-assembly weapon, replaced Mk-8 on 1-for-1 basis; stockpiled as the "Mk-91 penetration bomb"





1,100 - 1,200

12, 14 Kt

Timer or contact

Manufactured 12/54 - 2/57;
Retired 7/58 - 7/62; 250 produced

High-speed fighter-bomber weapon; 92-point implosion weapon; nicknamed "Brok"; probably first weapon using beryllium tamper; 4 versions stockpiled - 2 prototypes, 2 mods






Low Kt


Canceled Nov 1955

Talos (Navy)/Talos-W (Army) surface-air missile warhead






32 Kt (Upshot - Knothole Harry shot)

Airburst or contact

Canceled Aug 1954

High-yield Mk-6 follow-on, 92-point implosion system; superseded by TN Mk-15/39





6,000 - 6,500


Airburst or contact

Canceled Sept 1954

Early warhead intended for Snark cruise missile, Redstone ICBM; superseded by TN Mk/W-15/39

TX / MK-14



222 - 223.5

28,954 - 29,851; 31,000

5-7 Mt; 6.9 Mt (Castle Union shot)


Stockpiled 2/54 - 10/54;
5 produced

First deployed solid-fuel thermonuclear weapon; recycled into Mk-17 weapons by 9/56; used 95% enriched Li-6; 64 ft parachute



34.4 - 34.7; 35

136 - 140


1.69 Mt (Castle Nectar), 3.8 Mt (Redwing Cherokee)

Airburst, contact (F/F or rtd), laydown

Manufactured 4/55 - 2/57;
Retired 8/61 - 4/65; 1200 produced (all mods)

First "lightweight" U.S. TN bomb; used HEU secondary casing; 3 mods; 1x3 ft and 1x12 ft ribbon parachutes





6,400 - 6,560


Canceled Feb 1957

Class "C" TN missile warhead derived from MK-15, canceled in favor of very closely related W-39





39,000 - 42,000

6 - 8 Mt


Stockpiled 1/54 - 4/54;
5 produced

First deployed thermonuclear weapon; weaponized version of Ivy Mike device; only cryogenic TN weapon ever deployed






11 Mt (Castle Romeo shot)


Stockpiled 4/54 - 10/54; 5 produced

"Emergency Capability" weapon (deployed prototype); used natural lithium; free fall bomb





41,400 - 42,000

10 - 15 Mt

Airburst or contact (Mod 2 only)

Manufactured 7/54 - 11/55;
Retired 11/56 - 8/57; 200 produced

Similar to MK-24, different secondary; heaviest U.S. nuclear weapon, 2nd highest yield of any U.S. weapon (along with similar Mk-24); 3 mods; Mod 2 contact fused; 1x64 ft. parachute; replaced by the Mk-36






500 Kt (Ivy King shot)

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 3/53 - 2/55;
Retired 1/56 - 3/56; 90 produced (all mods)

Very high-yield MK-6/Mk-13 follow-on; largest pure fission bomb ever deployed; nicknamed the SOB ("Super Oralloy Bomb"); 92-point implosion system, all HEU core; 2 mods;
Retired by conversion to lower yield Mk-6 Mod 6; superseded by TN Mk-15 and Mk-28


Artillery Shell

11.02 (280 mm)



15 - 20 Kt

Mechanical time delay airburst

Production began 7/55;
Retired 1963; 80 produced

Used in T-315 atomic projectile; improved W-9; gun-assembly HEU weapon







Canceled Aug 1954

Improved high-yield MK-13; superseded by TN MK-15



56.2; 58.5

149 - 150

15,000 - 17,700

4 - 5 Mt

Airburst, contact, laydown

Manufactured 12/55 - 7/56;
Retired 6/57 - 1//57; 275 produced (all mods)

Redesigned Shrimp TN device with 95% enriched Li-6 fuel; 3 mods, all "dirty"; "clean" version tested, never deployed; Mod 1 contact fused; Mod 2 also had w/boosted primary;
Retired by conversion to Mk-36-Y1 Mod 1





15,000 - 16,000



For B-58, SM-64A 56 Navaho






1 Mt


Canceled April 1954

UCRL design based on the Morgenstern/Ramrod devices; canceled following Morgenstern fizzle (Castle Koon)


Artillery Shell



1,500; 1,900

15 - 20 Kt

Mechanical time delay airburst

Production began 10/56;
Retired 10/62;
50 produced

US Navy "Katie" shell; W-19 (11 inch shell) internal components adapted to 16 inch shell body

EC 24





13.5 Mt (Castle Yankee shot)


Stockpiled 4/54 - 10/54;
10 produced

"Emergency Capability" weapon (deployed prototype); used enriched Li-6; free fall bomb





41,400 - 42,000

10 - 15 Mt


Manufactured 7/54 - 11/55;
Retired 9/56 - 10/56;
105 produced

Similar to MK-17, different secondary; heaviest U.S. nuclear weapon, 2nd highest yield of any U.S. weapon (along with similar Mk-17); 2 mods (Mod 2 with contact burst canceled); 1x64 ft parachute; replaced by the Mk-36



17.35 - 17.4

25.7 - 26.6

218 - 221

1.7 Kt

Time delay

Manufactured 5/57 - 5/60;
Mod 0 retired 8/61 - 1965, all retired by 12/84;
3150 produced (all mods)

MB-1 Genie AAM warhead; unboosted composite implosion warhead; first "sealed pit" weapon; 2 mods, Mod 1 had environmental sensing device safeties





15,000 - 17,700


Canceled 1956

Mk-21 sibling design




125 - 142

3,150 - 3,300


Airburst or contact

Manufactured 11/58 - 6/59;
Retired 11/62 - 7/65; 700 (all mods) produced

Navy TN bomb; This UCRL design was a competitor with the LASL Mk-28 to satisfy the Class "D" light weight TN bomb requirement; 3 mods



30.25 - 31



2 Mt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 9/58 - 6/59;
retired 8/62 - 7/65;
20 produced

Regulus I (SSM-N-8) SSM cruise missile warhead; considered for several other systems all of which were were canceled: the F-101 and B-58 bomb pods, and the Rascal, Regulus II, and Matador cruise missiles



20; 22

96 - 170

1,700 - 2,320

Y1: 1.1 Mt,
Y2: 350 Kt,
Y3: 70 Kt,
Y5: 1.45 Mt

FUFO: F/F or retarded, airburst or contact, laydown

Manufactured 1/58 - 3/58, 8/58 - 5/66; retirement of early mods began 1961, last one retired 9/91; 4500 produced (all mods)

Multipurpose TN tactical and strategic bomb; longest weapon design in U.S. (33 years); 2nd largest production run of any U.S. weapon design; Y4 was fission only; 20 mods and variants; PAL A (Y1), B (Y2), D (Y3, Y5); replaced by B-61 and B-83 bombs; 1-point safety problem with primary discovered after start of initial manufacture, halting production for 5 months





1,500 - 1,725

70 Kt - 1.45 Mt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 8/58 - 5/66, entered service (Hound Dog) 1959 and (Mace) 1960;
Hound Dog retired 1/64 - 1976, Mace retired 1970;
production - 900 (Hound Dog), 100 (Mace)

Warhead for the Hound Dog (AGM-28) and Mace (MGM-13) cruise missiles; 5 mods; PAL A and B



52; 35




Canceled Aug 1955

Canceled in favor of Mk-15





438; 490; 450

300 T; 500 T (Talos and TADM); 4.7 Kt; 19 Kt

Airburst, contact, time delay

TADM: stockpiled 1961 - 1966, 300 produced;
Talos: manufactured 2/59 - 1/65, retired 1/62 - 3/79; 300 produced

Multipurpose warhead: Talos SAM/SSM, XW-30-X1 TADM (Tactical Atomic Demolition Munition) warhead; Talos - 1 yield, 3 mods; TADM - 2 yields stockpiled



28 - 29; 30

39 - 39.3

900 - 945

1, 2, 12, 20, 40 Kt

Airburst, timer, surface

Honest John: manufactured 10/59 - 12/61, retired 7/67 - 1987, 1650 produced;
Nike Hercules: manufactured 10/58 - 12/61, retired 7/67 - 9/89, 2550 produced;
ADM: stockpiled 9/60 - 1965, 300 produced

Multipurpose boosted fission warhead: Honest John SSM, Nike Hercules SAM, ADM (Atomic Demolition Munition);
Versions used:
Honest John: W-31 Mod 0, 3; Nike-Hercules: W-31 Mod 0, 2; ADM: Mk-31 Mod 1;
4 yields stockpiled: 2 for Nike-Hercules, 3 for Honest John (2, 20, and 40 Kt)


Artillery Shell

9.45 (240 mm)


400; 450


Canceled May 1955



Artillery Shell

8 (203 mm)


240 - 243

5 - 10 Kt, 40 Kt (Y2)

Mechanical time delay airburst

Manufactured 1/57 - 1/65;
Retired 9/92; 2000 produced

W-33 used in the T-317 atomic projectile; gun-assembly HEU weapon; used titanium to reduce weight and size; 4 yields (Y1 - Y4) using different internal HEU assemblies, high yield variant may be boosted; 2 mods


ASW warhead / Bomb



312; 320; 311

11 Kt

Hydrostatic, laydown, impact

ASW: Manufactured 8/58 - 12/62;
retired 7/64 - 1971 (Lulu), 7/64 - 1976 (Astor);
2000 Lulu, 600 Astor produced;
Hotpoint: Manufactured 6/58 - 9/62;
Retired by 1965;
600 produced

Multipurpose warhead for ASW (antisubmarine warfare) and tactical use; ASW: Mk-34 Lulu depth bomb, Mk-44 Astor torpedo; tactical: Mk-105 Hotpoint bomb, first parachute retarded laydown weapon; 2 mods; boosted fission implosion device identical to the Mk-28 primary



20; 28


1,500 - 1,700

1.75 Mt


Canceled Aug 1958

Early LASL TN ballistic missile warhead, intended for Atlas, Titan ICBMs, Thor, Jupiter IRBMs; competitor with UCRL W-38; canceled in favor of W-49 (a modified Mk-28)



56.2; 58; 59


17,500; 17,700

9 - 10 Mt

F/F or retarded airburst or contact

Manufactured 4/56 - 6/58;
Retired 8/61 - 1/62; 940 produced (all mods)

Two-stage TN strategic bomb; Y1 "dirty," Y2 "clean", each in two mods; parachutes 1x5 ft, 1x24 ft ribbon; all Mk-21s converted to Mk-36 in 1957;
Retired in favor of Mk-41; at retirement this weapon represented almost half of the megatonnage of the U.S. arsenal





900; 940


Canceled Sept 1956

Intended to be a high-yield multipurpose companion to the W-31; XW-37 was redesignated XW-31Y2






3.75 Mt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 5/61 - 1/63; retired 1/65 - 5/65; Production: 110 (Atlas), 70 (Titan)

Warhead for Atlas E/F and Titan I ICBMs; used Avco Mk 4 RV; first UCRL designed TN ballistic missile warhead; competitor with LASL W-35/49



35, 44 (tail section)

136 - 140

6,650 - 6,750

3-4 Mt (2 yields, Y1 and Y2)

Airburst, contact; mod w/low-level retarded laydown

Manufactured 2/57 - 3/59;
Retired 1/62 to 11/66; 700 produced (all mods)

Improved Mk-15, Mk-39 Mod 0 same as TX-15-X3; used gas-boosted primary to reduce weight; thermal batteries, improved safeties; 3 mods; parachutes: 1x6 ft, 1x28 ribbon, 1x100 ft



34.5 - 35


6,230 - 6,400

3.8 Mt (2 yields, Y1 and Y2)


Redstone: stockpiled 7/58 - 1963, 60 produced;
Snark: manufactured 4/58 - 7/58, retired 8/62 - 9/65, 30 produced

Warhead for Snark cruise missile, Redstone MRBM, B-58 weapon pod;
Versions: Redstone Mk-39Y1 Mod 1 and Mk-39Y2 Mod 1, Snark Mk-39Y1 Mod 1; W-39 identical to Mk-39 except for fuzing system





350; 385 (Y1)

10 Kt (Y1)

Airburst or contact

Bomarc: manufactured 9/59 - 5/62, retired by 11/72, 350 produced;
Lacrosse: manufactured 9/59 - 5/62, retired 10/63 - 1964, 400 produced

Warhead for Bomarc SAM and Lacrosse SSM; boosted implosion system adapted from Mk-28 primary; initially deployed version (produced 6/59-8/59) not 1-point safe, Mod 2 retrofit required; 2 yields





10,500 - 10,670

25 Mt

FUFU: F/F or retarded, airburst or contact, laydown

Manufactured 9/60 - 6/62;
Retired 11/63 - 7/76; 500 produced

Highest yield U.S. weapon ever deployed; only U.S. 3-stage TN weapon; Y1 "dirty," Y2 "clean"; parachutes 1x4 ft, 1x16.5 ft;
retired in favor of Mk-53







Canceled July 1957




13 - 14


75 - 92



Canceled June 1961

Intended for air-to-air (e.g. GAR-8), surface-to-air (e.g. Hawk) applications




150 - 164

2,060 - 2,125

70 Kt - 1 Mt;
Y1: 1 Mt,
Y5: 500 Kt

F/F or retarded, airburst or contact, laydown

Manufactured 4/61 - 10/65;
retirement (early mods) began 12/72, last retired 4/91;
1000 produced (all mods)

Laydown bomb for high-speed low-altitude delivery; 5 yields; Y4 is fission only; PAL B (mod 2); Parachutes: 1x4 ft, 1x23 ft ribbon; last version retired was MK-43Y2 Mod 2


ASW warhead




10 Kt


Manufactured 5/61 - 3/68;
retired 6/74 - 9/89;
575 produced

ASROC (RUR-5A) ASW warhead; plutonium implosion warhead, similar to primary for Mk-43





MADM: 350

500 T; 1, 5, 8, 10, 15 Kt

Airburst, surface, time delay, command

Terrier: manufactured 4/62 - 6/66, retired 7/67 - 9/88, 750 produced;
MADM: manufactured 1/62 - 6/66, retired 7/67 - 1984, 350 produced;
Bullpup: manufactured 1/62 - 1963, retired 7/67 - 1978, 100 produced;
Little John: manufactured 9/61 - 6/66, retired 7/67 - 1970, 500 produced

Multipurpose UCRL designed tactical warhead; small implosion design; Y1 (1 Kt): Little John SSM, Terrier SAM, MADM (Medium ADM); Y2: Little John, MADM; Y3 (unboosted): GAM-83B Bullpup ASM, MADM; Y4 (boosted, 1 Kt): Bullpup, Little John, Terrier, MADM






Mt range


Canceled Oct 1958

"Clean" and "dirty" versions tested during Hardtack I; was to have replaced Mk-39; development of improved design continued as Mk-53





Canceled April 1958

Warhead planned for Redstone, Snark, B-58 pod warhead; Redstone/W-46 canceled in favor of Titan II/W-53





Y1: 717 - 720;
Y2: 733

Y1: 600 Kt;
Y2: 1.2 Mt

Airburst or contact

EC-47 manufactured 4/60 - 6/60, retired 6/60, 300 produced;
W-47 manufactured 6/60 - 7/64, retired 7/61 - 11/74, 1060 produced (Y1 and Y2) - only 300 in service at a time

Polaris SLBM TN warhead; breakthrough in compact, light high yield design; integral warhead/beryllium re-entry vehicle; 3 versions: EC-47, W-47Y1, W-47Y2; several severe reliability problems required repeated modification and remanufacture (in 1966 75% of the stockpiled Y2s were inoperable, correction took until 10/67)


Artillery Shell

6.1 (155 mm)


118 - 128

72 T

Mechanical time delay or proximity airburst, or contact

Manufactured 10/63 - 3/68; retirement (135 Mod 0s) 1/65 - 1969, all 925 Mod 1s retired 1992; 1060 produced (all mods)

Small diameter linear implosion plutonium weapon, 2 mods




54.3 - 57.9

1,640 - 1,680

1.44 Mt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 9/58 - 1964;
Thor retired 11/62 - 8/63 (a few to 4/75);

LASL developed ICBM/IRBM warhead; Used in Thor (Mod 0,1, 3), Atlas (Mod 0, 1), Titan, Jupiter (Mod 0, 1, 3, 5) warhead; 2 RVs used Mk-2 heat sink and Mk-3 ablative; 2 yields, 7 mods; Mk/W-28 adaptation with new arming/fuzing system; PAL A; successor to W-35





409 - 410

Y1: 60 Kt;
Y2: 200 Kt;
Y3: 400 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 3/63 - 12/65;
retired 4/73 - 4/91;
280 produced

TN warhead for Pershing SSM (Mod 1, 2), Nike Zeus SAM (canceled 5/59); Mod 1 equipped with PAL A; 3 yields, 2 mods




22 T


Became XW-54 Jan 1959

Very small spherical implosion warhead, initial development by LRL, development transferred to LASL and design redesignated W-54






200 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 5/62 - 4/66;
retired 3/74 - 8/78;
300 produced

Sergeant SSM warhead; 2 yields, 3 mods; PAL A (Mod 2); warhead test in 1963 showed Mods 1 and 2 to be useless, Mod 3 was first to achieve rated yield




148 - 150;
Y2 144

8,850 - 8,900

9 Mt

FUFO: F/F or retarded, airburst or contact, laydown

Manufactured 8/62 - 6/65; retirement (early mods) began 7/67, last 50 retired from active service (but retained in permanent stockpile) early 1997; 350 produced, 50 still in stockpile

Carried by B-47, B-52; B-58 used Mk-53BA (in BLU-2/B pod); 4 mods, Y1 "dirty" version, Y2 "clean" version; fissile material all HEU, no plutonium; parachutes: 1x4 ft, 1x16.5 ft ribbon, 3x48 ft ribbon; last 50 retired in favor of B-61 Mod 11; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"






9 Mt

Airburst or contact


Titan II warhead





50 - 51

250 T

Contact or proximity

Manufactured 4/61 - 2/65; retired 7/67 - 4/72; 1000 - 2000 produced

GAR-11/AIM-26A Falcon AAM warhead; originally called "Wee Gnat"; adaptation of Mk-54





50 - 55

10, 20 T

Time delay

Manufactured 4/61 - 2/65;
retired 7/67 - 1971;
400 produced

Warhead for Davy Crockett M-388 recoilless rifle projectile; 2 yields; 2 mods; very light, compact spherical implosion plutonium warhead

Mk-54 SADM

Atomic Demolition Munition (ADM)



150 (complete);
59 (W-54 only)

Variable, 10 T - 1 Kt

Time delay

Manufactured 8/64 - 6/66;
retired 1967 - 1989;
300 produced

M-129/M-159 SADM (Special Atomic Demolition Munition) used a Mk-54 warhead package very similar to Davy Crockett; 2 mods; mechanical combination lock PAL






Mid Kiloton Range


Manufactured 1/64 - 3/68, 3/70 - 4/74;
retired 6/83 - 9/90;
285 produced

SUBROC (UUM-44A) ASW missile thermonuclear warhead; based on the 202 Kt Hardtack I Olive device





600; 680

1.2 Mt

Airburst or surface

Manufactured 3/63 - 5/69;
retired 9/66 (early mods), Mod-4 retired 1991-93;
1000 produced (all mods), 455 Mod-4s produced

Minuteman I and II warhead, based on UCRL W-47, competitor with the W-59 for Minuteman; 4 mods, retrofit of early mods required to fix reliability problem, blast and radiation hardening added later





490 - 510

5 - 20 Kt

Retarded airburst, retarded laydown, F/F contact, hydrostatic

Manufactured 1/63 - 5/67; retirement (early mods) started 6/75, last retired 6/93; 3,100 produced

Light weight multipurpose tactical strike/depth bomb; boosted implosion fission weapon; modular design, 6 mods; PAL B; 1x12.5 ft ribbon parachute;
Retired in favor of B-61






200 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 3/64 - 6/67; retired 9/68-4/82; 1400 produced

Polaris A-3 warhead, each A-3 carried three multiple re-entry vehicles (MRVs), first MRV warhead in service





550 - 553

1 Mt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 6/62 - 7/63;
retired 12/64 - 6/69;
150 produced

Warhead for Minuteman I/Mk 5 RV and the canceled Skybolt; version of LASL "J-21" design;





115 - 150

Very low


Canceled Dec 1963

Typhon SAM warhead

MK/B 61




695 - 716

Variable (4 yields), 0.3 - 340 Kt;
Mod 3: 0.3 - 170 Kt;
Mod 4: 0.3 - 45 Kt;
Mod 7/11: 10 - 340 Kt;
Mod 10: 0.3 - 80 Kt

FUFO: retarded and F/F, contact or airburst, laydown

Manufactured 10/66 - early 90s; early mods retired 70s - 80s; 3150 produced, 1350 in service

Multipurpose tactical/strategic bomb; basic design adapted to many other weapon systems; 4 yields; 11 mods, 5 in service; PAL B, D, F; uses IHE in primary; parachute: 1x17 ft or 1x24 ft ribbon; longest production run of any U.S. nuclear weapon, oldest design in service; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"



RV Body: 21 in;
Warhead: 19.7 in

RV Body: 72 in;
Warhead: 39.3 in

Warhead/RV: 700-800 lb;
Warhead: 253 lb

170 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 3/70 - 6/76;
early mods retired starting 4/80;
1725 produced, 610 in active service;

Minuteman III/Mk-12 RV warhead; remaining W-62s part of U.S. "enduring stockpile", but will be removed from active service under START II (to be replaced by W-88s)




Canceled Nov 1966

LRL design for Lance SSM warhead; ER ("neutron bomb") design; (canceled in favor of W-70




Canceled Sep 1964

LASL design for Lance SSM warhead; ER ("neutron bomb") design; canceled in favor of W-63




Mt range


Canceled Jan 1968

Sprint ABM warhead, canceled in favor of W-66






Kt range


Manufactured 6/74 - 3/75;
retired from service 8/75, ret. from stockpile 1985;
70 produced

Sprint ABM warhead, ER ("neutron bomb") warhead




150 Kt


Canceled Dec 1967

LRL ICBM/SLBM multiple warhead, intended for Poseidon and Minuteman-III





40 - 50 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 6/70 - 6/75; retired 9/77 - 1991; 5250 produced

Poseidon Mk-3 RV warhead, each missile carried 10 RVs; aging problems with explosive required complete rebuilding of stockpile 11/78-83 (3200 rebuilt, others retired); largest production run of any U.S. warhead






170 - 200 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 10/71 - 8/76;
retired 10/91 - 9/94;
1500 produced

SRAM (short range attack missile, AGM 69A) air-surface missile warhead; derived from Mk-61; initially removed from active service 6/90 due to fire safety concerns






Mods 0,1, 2: variable from 1-100 Kt;
Mod 3: 1 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 6/73 - 7/77 (Mods 0-2), 8/81 - 2/83 (Mod 3);
retired 7/79 - 9/92;
Mods 0-2: 900 produced, Mod 3: 380 built

Lance SSM warhead; LRL successor to W-63 design; 4 mods; Mods 0, 1, 2: TN warhead with 3 yield settings (1-100 Kt), Mod 1 had improved selection of yields; Mod 3: enhanced radiation ("neutron bomb") version, 2 yield options (slightly less than 1 Kt, and slightly more than 1 Kt), both 60% fusion and 40% fission; PAL D






5 Mt

Airburst (command & delay timer)

Manufactured 7/74 - 7/75;
retired from service 1975, ret. from stockpile 9/92;
30 produced

Spartan ABM warhead, used thermal x-rays for exoatmospheric RV kill






ca. 600 T


Manufactured 8/70 - 4/72;
retired 7/79 - 9/79;
300 produced

Walleye (AGM-62) guided glide bomb warhead; W-72 was a modified W-54, salvaged from retired AIM-26A Falcon AAM; yield was significantly enhanced over Falcon version





Canceled Sept 1970

Condor ASM warhead; derived from Mk-61; canceled in favor of a conventional HE warhead


Artillery Shell

6.1 (155 mm)


2 yields (both >100 T)


Canceled June 1973

Linear implosion pure fission plutonium warhead; intended to replace W-48


Artillery Shell

8 (203 mm)


>100 T


Canceled 1973

"Big brother" of W-74, similar design





100 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 6/78 - 7/87;
active service;
approx. 3000 produced

Trident I and Trident II Mk-4 RV TN warhead, missiles can carry 8-14 RVs; developed by LANL; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"






Variable, Kt to Mt range


Canceled Dec 1977

High yield strategic TN bomb, intended to replace Mk-28 and Mk-43; PAL D; costly, heavy delivery system lead to cancellation, warhead design continued with B-83





400 - 600

335 - 350 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 8/79 - 10/82;
active service;
1083 produced, 920 in service

Minuteman III/Mk-12A RV warhead; LANL design derived from W-50 with a new lighter primary; part of U.S. "enduring stockpile", but will be removed from active service under START II (to be replaced by W-88s)


Artillery Shell




Variable - 100 T to 1.1 Kt (Mod 0), 0.8 Kt (Mod 1)

Proximity airburst or contact

Manufactured 7/81 - 8/86; ER version retirement started mid-80s, all retired 9/92; 550 (325 ER, 225 fission) produced

Plutonium linear implosion weapon, used in XM-753 atomic projectile (AFAP); Mod 0: dual capable - pure fission or enhanced radiation (ER of "neutron bomb"), 3 yield options; Mod 1: fission only; PAL D






Variable: 5 Kt and 170-200 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 12/83 - 9/90;
active service;
367 produced

SLCM warhead; uses supergrade plutonium; PAL D; LANL design derived from Mk/B-61 warhead; now stored ashore; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"






Variable: 5 Kt and 150-170 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 1/81 - 9/90;
active service;
1750 produced, 1400 in service

Warhead for ALCM (1000 in service), ACM (400 in service); PAL D; LANL design derived from Mk/B-61 warhead; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"





2 - 4 Kt


Canceled 1986

USN Standard SM-2 SAM warhead; PAL F; variant of Mk/B-61 warhead, enhanced radiation version initially planned, later converted to fission only


Artillery Shell

6.1 (155 mm)



<2 Kt


W-82-0 canceled in Oct 1983; W-82-1 canceled in Sept 1990

155 mm companion to the the W-79, for use in XM-785 atomic projectile (AFAP); original Mod 0: dual capable - pure fission or enhanced radiation; Mod 1: fission only; PAL D






Variable, low Kt to 1.2 Mt

FUFO: F/F or retarded, airburst or contact, laydown

Manufactured 6/83 - 1991;
active service;
650 produced

Current high-yield strategic TN bomb; PAL D; uses IHE, fire resisitant pit; parachutes: 3x4 ft, 1x46 ft; 1x5 ft, 1x46 ft




1,700 - 1,900








Variable: 0.2 - 150 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 9/83 - 1/88;
inactive stockpile;
300-350 produced

GLCM warhead, missile scrapped under INF Treaty; LLNL design derived from LANL Mk/B-61 Mod 3/4 warhead; uses IHE, PAL F; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"






Variable: 5 - 80 Kt

Airburst or contact

Manufactured 2/83 - 7/86;
retired 1988 - 3/91;
120 produced

Pershing II SSM warhead; derived from LANL Mk/B-61 Mod 3/4 warhead; uses IHE, PAL F; upon retirement the W-85 was recycled into B-61 Mod 10 bombs





Canceled Sept 1980

Earth penetrating warhead for the Pershing II SSM, canceled due to change in mission from hard to soft targets





500 - 600; 440

300 Kt;
upgradeable to 475 Kt

Timer or proximity airburst, contact

Manufactured 7/86 - 12/88;
active service;
525 produced

Peacekeeper (MX) ICBM/Mk-21 RV TN warhead (missile carries 10); RV/warhead weighs 800 lb; LLNL design; primary uses IHE and fire resistant pit; yield upgradeable by adding HEU rings to secondary; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"; after MX retirement, will equip Minuteman III






475 Kt

Timer (w/path length correction) and proximity airburst; contact

Manufactured 9/88 - 11/89; active service;
400 produced

Trident II Mk-5 RV warhead; does not use IHE; uses HEU jacket with secondary stage; production terminated by FBI raid on Rocky Flats; part of the U.S. "enduring stockpile"






200 Kt

Airburst or contact

Canceled Sept 1991

SRAM (short range attack missile) II warhead; LLNL design; safety features: PAL D, IHE, FRP; also considered for Sea Lance ASW missile

B 90





200 Kt

retarded airburst, retarded contact, F/F airburst, F/F contact, hydrostatic

Canceled 1991

USN nuclear strike/depth bomb; intended to replace Mk-57; PAL D; 1x26 ft parachute





10, 100 Kt


Canceled Sept 1991

SRAM-T (short range attack missile - tactical) warhead; SRAM-T was a SRAM II derivative for the F-15E Eagle fighter/bomber; LASL TN design orignally called "New Mexico 1"; safety features: FRP, IHE; 2 yields




Any functional nuclear weapon that is not in active service is available for use in principal. Most or all of the weapons now awaiting dismantlement are probably functional so any of them could be reactivated on short notice. There are two defined classes of warheads that are not active duty, but will be retained indefinitely as part of the US Enduring Stockpile - the hedge stockpile and the inactive reserve. The hedge stockpile will begin receiving B-53 bombs as the B-61 Mod-11 begins to enter service. This inactive reserve reserve currently contains 50 W-84 ground launched cruise missile (GLCM) warheads.

Existing Weapon Infrastructure

Most of the weapons production infrastructure that was constructed during the Cold War has been (or will soon be) shut down, much of it is being dismantled. Plans are now being formulated to transfer various production and maintenance functions to other facilities as needed, mostly to the US national laboratories: Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Lawrence Livermore Natational Laboratory (LLNL), and Sandia National Laboratory (SNL). With the termination of weapons tests and production the role of the laboratories have been redefined to be "stockpile stewardship" - maintaining the safety and reliability of the existing stockpile.

All manufacture of nuclear materials for weapons has been halted. There is now a stockpile surplus of U-235, Pu-239, and lithium deuteride. Weapon retirements will offset tritium decay in stockpile weapons so that no new tritium production will be needed to support the NPR defined post-START II arsenal until 2011 (allowing a 5 year reserve). Preliminary planning is underway to develop a new tritium production capability at Savannah River by this date.

There are two nuclear weapon design labs - LANL and LLNL. Each lab is responsible for supervising and maintaining the weapons it designs. Currently the labs are responsible respectively for the following weapons:

LANL - B53, B61, W76, W80, W88

LLNL - B83, W87, W84

This weapon design lab competes with Los Alamos. It was established June 1952 near Livermore California and has always operated under a contract with the University of California Board of Regents. The 12.2 square mile facility employed 7,800 people on 11/25/95.

LANL conducts R&D activities associated with all phases of the nuclear weapons life-cycle, as well as research on non-proliferation, arms control and treaty verification technology. Facilities include the High Explosive Application Facility (HEAF), a tritium facility, the NOVA laser used for Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) research, and the Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation (AVLIS) plant. It is currently planned to be the site for the National Ignition Facility (NIF), a new ICF laser facility

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)

Opened in 1943 to design atomic bombs as part of the Manhattan Project, Los Alamos has always been operated under a contract with the University of California Board of Regents. This 43.0 square mile facility employed 7,987 people on 11/25/95.

Los Alamos National Laboratory originally manufactured pits in small numbers for weapons tests at its TA-55 (Technical Area-55) plant. This four acre facility is currently the only full-function plutonium handling facility in the US. It opened in April 1978 at a cost of $70 million, and houses 400 scientists and engineers. The 150,000 square foot PF-4 (Plutonium Facility-4) is the actual plutonium processing area of TA-55.

Plans are now for it to begin production for weapon stockpile use in 1997 (with one W88 pit), increasing to 50 pits/yr by 2000. Los Alamos will support stockpile maintenance by requalifying 100 pits a year (this implies a remanufacturing lifecycle of nearly 100 years for all active weapons, and nearly 50 years for requalification).

Until FY 1984 Los Alamos had the capability to fabricate and assembly nuclear weapon test devices. This function was terminated due to persistent security problems, and is now handled by the Nevada Test Site.

Nevada Test Site (NTS)

Located 65 miles from Las Vegas, NTS was established as a nuclear weapon test range in 1951 with its first nuclear test (January 27, 1951). The last nuclear test was on September 23, 1992. A total of 928 total tests (100 atmospheric, 828 underground) are known to have been conducted there. The 1,350 square miles facility employed 4,901 people on 11/25/95.

NTS is currently the only US facility capable of manufacturing nuclear explosive devices. With US nuclear explosion tests permanently terminated, its function has shifted to sub-critical tests with high explosives and fissile material in enclosed test chambers. In mid-1993, construction was completed on the $100 million Combined Device Assembly Facility, a 100,000 square foot building within a highly secured 22 acre portion of the test site. The facility includes five high explosives containment cells, called "Gravel Gerties," three weapon assembly bays, two radiographic areas and storage bunkers.

Pantex Plant

This 16.6 square miles facility, located near Amarillo, Texas, has long been the sole facility for the assembly/disassembly of nuclear warhead and bombs. It has not produced any weapons for five years, the last new nuclear weapon (a W88 warhead) was assembled on July 31, 1990. It is now performing dismantlement operations only. By 2000, when the current backlog of weapons has been dismantled, Pantex will reestablish a modest manufacturing capability.

In operation since May 1952, it is run by the Mason and Hanger-Silas Mason Company. It employed 3,348 people on 11/25/95.

Pantex stores pits from disassembled weapons. On 8 May 1995 it had 7239 in storage. It currently is upgrading its pit storage capability of 12000, but even this will be exceeded by 1999.

Pantex Weapon Dismantlements


        1 Oct to 30 Sept

        1992                            1303 (Oak Ridge dismantled another 554)
        1993                            1556
        1994                             1369
        1995 (Goal)                  2002
        1995, Actual to May 8    986

Number awaiting dismantlement:      5250. 
Number of pits stored at Pantex:    7239 (as of 5/8/95).   

On 6 Feb. 1996, the DOE declared that Pantex holds 21.3 tonnes of weapon-grade plutonium (and 16.7 tonnes of highly enriched uranium) considered excess inventory including planned dismantlements. Even though a substantial portion of the pits in storage or planned for dismantlement may be HEU or plutonium/HEU composites, since this quantity of excess plutonium comes to only 1.7 kg per pit, it appears that much of the plutonium in storage at Pantex will be retained as a weapons material stockpile.

Sandia National Laboratory (SNL)

Sandia was established to provide engineering services for the development of nuclear weapons at the end of WWII. Its 11.9 square mile main facility is located inside Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, New Mexico; it has a 413 acre branch laboratory near Livermore. It is operated by the Lockheed Martin Sandia Corp. and employed 8,527 people on 11/25/95.

SNL has taken over responsibility for neutron initiators from the Pinellas Plant where they were originally manufactured. In five years Sandia expects to be able to produce 500/yr.

Savannah River Site (SRS)

Located near Aiken, South Carolina, Savannah River was established to be the primary production site of nuclear materials for weapons in 1952 at the height of the Cold War. This capability has now been completely shut down. The 300 square mile facility contains deactivated production facilities occupying 16 square miles. It employed 16,655 people on 11/25/95. Its current weapon-related work focuses on tritium handling, and managing the radioactive waste left over from the production of plutonium and tritium.

Other Facilities

Nearly all non-nuclear bomb components are manufactured at the the Kansas City Plant operated by the Bendix Kansas City Division of Allied-Signal. This 136 acre facility (containing 3.2 million square feet of process building space) was opened in 1949 and employed 3,291 on 11/25/95.

The existing US gaseous diffusion enrichment facilities at Paducah, Kentucky, and Portsmouth, Ohio are operated by the United States Enrichment Corporation (established by the Energy Policy Act of 1992). These plants only produce low-enriched uranium. In January 1991, the NRC received an application to construct and operate the nation's first privately owned uranium enrichment facility in Homer, Louisiana. The only facility for producing uranium hexafluoride is the Allied-Signal plant in Metropolis, Illinois. WEAPON DEPLOYMENT/STORAGE SITES
As of mid-1995 the US had nuclear weapons stored at 20 sites in 17 states, and at 13 sites in 7 foreign countries (this does not count ballistic missile submarines on patrol in the open ocean). The 1995 figure is a significant decline from a few years ago, and a dramatic one over the last decade when hundreds of sites existed around the world. Several more of these sites are being closed now, or due to be closed over the next few years.

In 1995 the Pantex Plant in Texas had more US nuclear weapons than any other site in the world, over 5000, although none of them were part of the active stockpile. Nonetheless, until these weapons are actually dismantled they continue to be functional and available for reactivation. Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana has more active US nuclear warheads than any other site in the world (1010 bombs and cruise missile warheads for the B-52H). North Dakota has more active warheads than any other state (1710 Minuteman III warheads at two air force bases). Tied for third place are Georgia (Kings Bay) and Washington (Bangor) as the principal deployment sites for the US Navy with 768 warheads each (not counting an additional 768 warheads assigned to the base that are expected to be at sea on patrol at any given time).

All warheads deployed overseas (not counting ballistic missile submarines on patrol) are B-61 tactical thermonuclear bombs.


STATE         WARHEADS               LOCATIONS

North Dakota  1710                   Grand Forks AFB; Minot AFB

Louisiana     1010                   Barksdale AFB

Georgia        768 (768 more at sea) Kings Bay 

Washington     768 (768 more at sea) Bangor 

Wyoming        582                   F.E. Warren AFB

South Dakota   350                   1 site

Texas          350 (active only)     2 sites

Nebraska       255                   1 site

Montana        250                   Malmstrom AFB

Nevada         200                   Nellis AFB

Missouri       150                   1 site

Colorado       138                   1 site

New Mexico     120+                  Kirtland AFB; Los Alamos Nat. Lab.

California     100                   Naval Air Station North Is. - San Diego

Virginia       100                   Naval Weapons Station Yorktown - Norfolk

South Carolina 100                   1 site

Hawaii          50                   1 site (closure imminent)

Approx. Total 7000



Germany         245  Buechel, Memmingen, Norvenich, Ramstein (US base)

United Kingdom   90  Lakenheath (US base)

Turkey           75  Balikesir, Murted, Incirlik (US base)

Italy            40  Ghedi-Torre, Aviano (US base)

Greece           10  Araxos

Netherlands      10  Volkel

Belgium          10  Kleine Brogel

(At Sea        1536)

Planned Nuclear Forces

As a result of the START II Treaty, the US Department of Defense prepared a Nuclear Policy Review, issued on 22 September 1994, which projected US nuclear forces in the year 2003 after the treaty provision go into effect. Current plans are to have 3500 strategic warheads, 950 non-strategic warheads, and 550 spares counted as part of the active inventory.



                           AND TYPE             


Minuteman III   450-500  1 x W87-0             300        450-500 


Trident II D5     256    5 x W76               100        1280

                   80    5 x W88               475         400

Ohio Class         14   24 x Trident I/II       -          336 missiles


B-52H Stratofort.  33   12 x W61/W83        10 to 1200     396

                   33   20 x ALCM/ACM/bomb   5 to 1200     660

B-2A Spirit        20   16 x B-61/83 bombs low to 1200     320


ALCM (AGM-86B)           1 x W80-1           5 to 150

ACM                      1 x W80-1           5 to 150    




                      PRODUCED                             Mt   Equiv. Mt


B61-7/B61-11 Bomb       10/66    10 to 300   AF      420   126   188

B83/B83-1 Bomb           6/83   low to 1200  AF      500   600   564

W76 for Trident II D5    6/78       100      Navy   1280   128   276 

W88 for Trident II D5    9/88       475      Navy    400   190   243

W87-0 for Minuteman III  4/86       300      AF    450-500 150   224

W80-1 for ALCM/ACM      12/81    5 to 150    AF      400    60   113


B61(-3,4,10) Tact. Bomb  3/75   0.3 to 175   AF/NATO 600   105   188

W80-0 for SLCM          12/83    5 to 150    Navy    350    53    99

GRAND TOTAL                                         4450  1412  1895


W76 for Trident II D5    6/78       100      Navy   450     45    97

W78 for Minuteman III    8/79       335      AF     900    302   434

W84 GLCM Warheads                  10-50      ?     350     18    47

Bombs and cruise missiles         5 - 9000?  AF     800   1000? 1000?

GRAND TOTAL                                        2500

7.2.2 Russia

Although under Start II Russia is permitted 3500 warheads, it is very unlikely that the actual number of warheads will exceed 2500 due to the serious deterioration of the money-starved Russian nuclear forces, and may be no more than 1500.

Under the 'swords for plowshares' deal signed in January 1994, the US Government will purchase 500 tonnes of HEU from Russia for dilution, for US$11.9 billion. Under the Russian-US agreement the United States Enrichment Corporation will purchase a minimum of 500 tonnes of military HEU over 20 years, commencing with 10 tonnes for the first five years and not less than 30 tonnes per year thereafter. The weapons-grade is to be blended down to 4.4% U-235 in Russia and the Russians intend to use 1.5% U-235 for this, to minimize the levels of U-234 in the product. In the short term the military uranium is likely to be blended down to 20% U235, then stored. In this form it is not usable for weapons.

The blending down of 500 tonnes of military HEU will result in about 15,000 tonnes of low-enriched uranium over 20 years. This is equivalent to about 150 000 tonnes of natural uranium, or approximately three times western world demand in 1993. The dilution of 10 tonnes of military HEU per year for the first five years will displace approximately 3,700 tonnes of uranium oxide production per year, equivalent to output from a medium to large uranium mine. By 2000 the dilution of 30 tonnes of military HEU will displace about 11,200 tonnes of uranium oxide mine production per year which represents approximately 20% of the western world's uranium requirements.

In 1995 the US Enrichment Corporation received its first shipments of low-enriched uranium from Russia (186 tonnes), derived from six tonnes of weapons-grade material. The first shipment of this to a customer, valued at US$145 million, was made in November, and is presumably now generating electricity.

On 27 April 1997 Nuclear Energy Minister Viktor Mikhailov announced that Russia had dismantled almost half of its arsenal, removing nearly 400 tonnes of HEU in the process.

In November 1997 Russia completed the development of the RT-2PM Topol-M ICBM (designated SS-27 by NATO). The first test flight of this missile version was 20 December 1994. This is a single warhead missile with a range of 10500 km, that is suitable for silo or mobile basing. It has improved reliability and operational features, including an improved road-mobile launcher and turning radius, and succeeds the SS-25 Topol. It is expected to achieve initial operating capability in mid-1998.

Current strategic plans are manufacture the SS-27 to replace most of the ICBMs currently in service (though at an expected low production rate). Russia will probably retain 105 SS-19s in service under START-II. There are three nuclear armed missiles currently in earlystages of development but no other ICBMs, no new SLBMs, or ballistic missile subs are expected to enter service before 2003. The Blackjack and Bear production lines have been shut down. There are currently slightly fewer than 100 nuclear weapon storage sites in Russia.


            DESIGNATIONS                     YEAR   RANGE (km)/   CEP(m)

         NATO          RUSSIAN                     PAYLOAD (kg)  


SS-18 M4/M5/M6 Satan   RS-20, R-36N Voevoda  1979   11000/         250

SS-19 M3 Stiletto      RS-18, UR-100NU       1979   9000/          300  

SS-24 M1/M2 Scalpel    RS-22,RT-23U Molodets 1987   10000/         200

SS-25 Sickle           RS-12M, RT-2PM        1985   10500/1000     200


SS-N-18 M1 Stingray    RSM-50                1978    6500/         400

SS-N-20 M1/M2 Sturgeon RSM-52                1983    8300/         500

SS-N-23 Skiff          RSM-54                1986    9000/         500


Bear H6                TU-95 MS6             1984   13000/

Bear H16               TU-95 MS16                   13000/

Blackjack              TU-160                1987   12500/

Due to the disordered state of Russian affairs in general, and military affairs in particular, it is difficult to estimate the actual available nuclear forces. The figures given below are the maximum available forces. The actual effective SLBM and aircraft forces are likely to be a fraction of those indicated. At one point during the summer of 1995 only one Typhoon SLBM boat was deployed. Few, if any, Blackjacks are currently operational. Some of the forces that have become unavailable due to maintenance and support problems may eventually be reactivated.

Current Deployment Locations


SS-18: Aleysk, Dombarovski, Kartaly, and Uzhur (186 total)

SS-19: ?

SS-24 M1: Bersht, Kostroma, and Krasnoyarsk (12 each)

SS-24 M2: Tatishchevo (10)

SS-25: ?


Typhoon submarines: Nerpichya, Kola Peninsula (6)

Delta IV submarines:    Yagelnaya, Kola Peninsula (7)

Delta III submarines:   Yagelnaya, Kola Peninsula (4); 

            Rybachi, Kamchatka Peninsula (9)


Bear H16:   Mozdok (19)

        Ukrainka (17)

        Uzin (21 - these Ukrainian aircraft are non operational)

Bear H6:    Mozdok (2)

        Ukrainka (25)

        Uzin (4 -  these Ukrainian aircraft are non operational)

Blackjack:  Engels Air Base (5)

        Zhukovsky Flight Center (1)

        Priluki (19 -  these Ukrainian aircraft are non operational)




                NUMBER      NUMBER x Mt        NUMBER   Mt  Equiv Mt


SS-18 M4/M5/M6  186        10 x 0.55/0.75       1860   1209  1390  

                             some 1 x 25?

SS-19 M3        150         6 x 0.55             900    495   604

SS-24 M1         36        10 x 0.55             360    198   242

SS-24 M2         10        10 x 0.55             100     55    67

SS-25           345         1 x 0.55             345    190   232


SS-N-18 M1      208/13 subs 3 x 0.50             624    312   393

SS-N-20 M1/M2   120/6 subs 10 x 0.20            1200    240   410

SS-N-23         112/7 subs  4 x 0.10             448     45    97


Bear H6          27         6 x AS-15A ALCM/bomb 162     41    64

Bear H16         36        16 x AS-15A ALCM/bomb 576    144   229

Blackjack         6        12 x AS-15B ALCM/      72     18    29

                                AS-16 SRAM/bomb

GRAND TOTAL    1236                             6647   2947  3757

Russia now has nine power stations operating 29 nuclear reactors, with 22 gigawatts of electrical capacity; this represents 12% of total electricity generated in Russia. The Minatom ministry plans to increase total capacity to 28 or 30 gigawatts before 2005.

Russia has four uranium enrichment facilities, in Ekaterinburg, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk and Angarsk, with a total annual enrichment capacity 20 million SWU. Isotope separation has gone through several stages of development: gaseous dynamic nozzle technology, gaseous diffusion, and gas centrifuge. Russia is currently using 50% of her enrichment capacity for domestic and export production, and is thus aggressively marketing her high technology centrifuge separation capacity.

7.2.3 Britain History of British Nuclear Weapon Development

Britain was the first country to seriously study the feasibility of nuclear weapons, and made a number of critical conceptual breakthroughs. The first theoretically sound critical mass calculation was made in England by Frisch and Peierls in Feb. 1940; and from 10 April 1940 to 15 July 1941 the MAUD Committee headed by Tizard worked out the basic principles of fission bomb design and uranium enrichment by gaseous diffusion. The work done by the MAUD Committee was instrumental in alerting the US (and through espionage, the USSR) to the feasibility of fission weapons in WWII. A high level of cooperation between Britain, the US, and Canada continued through the war, formalized by the 1943 Quebec Agreement. Britain sent "the British Mission", a team of first rank scientists to work at Los Alamos. The mission made major contributions to the Manhattan Project, and provided the nucleus for British post-war atomic weapons development effort. Among the mission members was William G. Penney who later led the British atomic bomb project.

Immediately after the war, in August 1945, the new Labor government in Britain organized a secret Cabinet committee to establish nuclear policy. Initial decisions focused on establishing nuclear infrastructure and research. In August 1946 the U.K. Air Chief of Staff issued a formal requirement for an atomic bomb. On 6 November 1946 the Atomic Energy Act (McMahon Act) severed close nuclear ties between the US and Britain. On 8 January 1947, a secret committee of six Ministers (headed by P.M. Attlee) decided to proceed with development and acquisition of atomic weapons. This fact was not disclosed at all until 12 May 1948, when an oblique reference was made to atomic weapon development in parliamentary discussions.

The initial sites for Britain's nuclear program were selected in 1946. Harwell, on the Berkshire Downs 12 miles south of Oxford, was selected for the Atomic Energy Research Establishment. This research center was headed by physicist Sir John Crockcroft. Construction began there for Britain's first nuclear reactor, Bepo (Britain Experimental Pile Zero). Bepo went critical on 3 July 1948.

The fissile material production facilities were the responsibility of Christopher Hinton. A site for the first plutonium production reactors and plutonium processing plant was selected at Sellafield on the Irish Sea coast in Cumberland. The site was renamed Windscale, and construction began in September 1947. In October 1950 the first production reactor went critical. The plutonium plant began operation on 25 February 1952, and produced the first plutonium metal 35 days later.

A gaseous diffusion plant was also planned, and the site eventually chosen in Early 1950 was Capenhurst, near Chester. This plant finally began operation in 1953. An extension boosted its annual production capacity to 125 kg of HEU at the end of 1957.

In May 1947 William Penney learned of the decision to build an atomic bomb, and the following month began assembling a team to work on it. The effort suffered initially from disorganization - it was spread over several sites, and lines of authority with other research sites were not clear. By mid 1948 the responsibilities had been settled, and on 1 April 1950 a single site was selected for atomic weapons development at Aldermaston in Berkshire.

Due to the small size and high population density of Britain no suitable sites for atmospheric weapons tests existed. Britain thus sought sites in other countries to test its weapons, finally settling on the Monte Bello Islands in Australia. The plutonium for the first test device was needed by August 1 1952 to meet the schedule. Because the Windscale plant was not quite able to meet this, some Canadian supplied plutonium was also incorporated into the core. 15 September 1952 the plutonium core for the first British nuclear device, code named Hurricane, left England. On 3 October 1952 Hurricane was detonated in a lagoon off the western shore of Trimouille Island. The bomb was exploded inside the hull of the HMS Plym (1450 ton frigate) which was anchored in 40 feet of water 400 yards off shore. The explosion occurred 2.7 m below the water line.

The British arsenal acquired its first deployed weapon, the Blue Danube plutonium bomb, in November 1953. This weapon was based on the Hurricane device. From a technology standpoint it was probably very similar to the US Mk 4, which went into service in 1949. Like the Mk 4 it had a 60 inch, 32 lens implosion system and used a levitated core suspended within a hollow uranium tamper. Plans at this point called for building up an arsenal of 200 weapons by 1957 so plutonium production was expanded by adding two new dual use (plutonium and electricity) MAGNOX reactors at Calder Hall.

The US had already demonstrated the feasibility of megaton size fission and thermonuclear bombs in October 1952, and by February 1954 the British had drafted requirements to add megaton weapons to their stockpile. The Teller-Ulam design had not been rediscovered by them at this point, and only pure fission designs were initially considered.

From March through May 1954 the UK was permitted by the US to observe the Castle test series at Bikini atoll and use sampling aircraft in the mushroom clouds. This would have provided the British with clear, direct evidence of the high compression produced in the secondary stages by radiation implosion.

Possibly as a direct result of this data, on 16 June 1954 Winston Churchill decided that Britain should go ahead with H-bomb development, that is, to replicate the US achievement (the USSR had not tested a staged thermonuclear bomb at this time).

Due to technical uncertainties a program of parallel development of alternate approaches was undertaken. The primary objectives were to acquire warheads with yields of approximately 1 megaton suitable for both an air dropped bomb, and a lighter one for the Blue Streak medium range ballistic missile (eventually canceled). Secondary objectives were to minimize the use of scarce and expensive fissile material in the designs. To achieve these ends a low-risk pure fission design, multiple boosted fission (Alarm Clock/Layer Cake like) designs, and staged thermonuclear designs were pursued. Since the pure fission bomb would have required 120 kg of U-235 (the entire annual production of Capenhurst, once expansion was complete in 3 years), and was too heavy for missile use, this was an option of last resort.

By mid-December 1955 the increasing international pressure for a halt to atmospheric testing gave further impetus to the parallel programs. It appeared quite possible that the UK might have only a very short window in which it could test megaton class weapons (and demonstrate this capability to the world). The requirement for a multi-megaton weapon had been added by this time, which only a two-stage thermonuclear device could provide. This decision was largely based on political considerations, since the Soviet Union had tested such a device on 22 November 1955.

By this time Britain had developed a pure fission design for the Mark 1 bomb case, and two boosted fission designs using U-235 surrounded by lithium deuteride: Green Bamboo and a smaller and lighter (but less efficient) device called Orange Herald. All were estimated to produce 1 megaton yields. They also had a large two-stage thermonuclear weapon design called Green Granite expected to produce multi-megaton yields (1-4 Mt). Green Bamboo and Green Granite were suitable for the heavy air-dropped bomb, only Orange Herald was suitable for the missile warhead. The Green Bamboo and Orange Herald devices were both quite expensive in fissile material. Green Bamboo required 87 kg of U-235, Orange Herald required 117 kg. Considering annual production was only 120 kg, neither of these devices could be deployed in very large numbers.

Fusion reactions using lithium deuteride fuel were ignited in the Mosaic test series conducted at the Monte Bello test site in the spring of 1956. Mosaic G1 (16 May 1956) produced a 15-20 Kt yield and was apparently a failure. Mosaic G2 (19 June 1956), which produced an unexpectedly high 98 Kt yield, provided data about fast fission of a U-238 tamper by fusion neutrons.

By January 1957 two variant designs had been developed for both Green Granite and Orange Herald. These were a light weight version of Green Granite (suitable for the missile), and a heavy weight version of Orange Herald using the Mark 1 case (too heavy for the missile, but more likely to be successful). Both Green Granite Large and Small (or Short) were expected at this time to produce a yield of about 1 Mt. A modified version of the Red Beard bomb (evidently to produce a higher yield) called Tom was used as the primary for both Green Granite designs.

The Green Granite Small, Orange Herald Small, and a device called Purple Granite which was substituted for Green Granite Large at the last minute (possibly a modified version of it) were ultimately tested in the 1957 Grapple test series at Malden Island in the Pacific. Green Granite Small was detonated in the Grapple 1/Short Granite test on 15 May 1957. Its yield was a disappointing 200-300 Kt, but most of this was from the secondary stage providing proof of principle. Orange Herald Small was tested in Grapple 2/Orange Herald on 31 May 1957 producing 720 Kt (the largest yield from this type of device on record). Surprisingly, Purple Granite produced an even smaller yield in the Grapple 3/Purple Granite test on 19 June 1957, about 150 Kt.

All in all, the series was a mixed success. The rediscovered Teller-Ulam design, and a deployable megaton-class weapon design had both been proven. On the other hand, the H-bomb yields were far below those predicted. During the summer of 1957 the British government announced that it had successfully conducted thermonuclear tests. In his memoirs Prime Minister Harold MacMillan writes "On May 15 came the successful explosion of the first British H-bomb," referring to Grapple 1/Short Granite. This test was certainly an H-bomb, but not a very efficient one.

The next test, Grapple X, was held on 7 November 1957. The bomber squadron was only notified about the test in September, followed by four weeks of intensive training in preparation. Only one device, designated Round C, was tested with a yield of 1.8 Mt. This indicates that Grapple X was a hurriedly prepared and planned operation, intended to test a redesigned Teller-Ulam device following analysis of the disappointing results of the first and third Grapple tests. The high yield shows that the British had achieved mastery of H-bomb design.

Further development work on high yield thermonuclear weapons continued in 1958, with an international test moratorium rapidly approaching. Several high yield tests were conducted:

In addition two low yield tests (26-42 Kt) were conducted, probably primary and radiation implosion system tests. These tests may have been refinements of the Grapple X design (that is, making the existing system more operationally useful), or may included new tests of new designs or concepts (this is most likely true for Halliard especially).

But an important change was taking place in the UK's relationship with the US which would profoundly change the nature of Britain nuclear weapons program. Previously nuclear cooperation between the two nations had been fitful. During the war cooperation had been very close. A team of British scientists had been deeply involved in weapons design at Los Alamos (the "British Mission"), and the close cooperation had been officially ratified by the Quebec Agreement (1943) and the Hyde Park Memoranda (1944). In 1946 though, the highly restrictive Atomic Energy Act (McMahon Act) had shut down exchanges of information (this had been an important motivating factor in initiating the British nuclear weapons program in the first place).

An amendment of the Atomic Energy Act in 1954 had made limited exchanges possible, and the pressures of the Cold War made the need for cooperation ever more urgent as time passed. Finally in 1958 a major revision to the Act was made (signed into law 2 July) that opened the gates for detailed collaboration. The first meeting under this revised law occurred 25-27 August 1958 in Washington. This brought about considerable understanding of each party in the status of weapons developments by the other side. In the second meeting (15-17 September 1958) at Los Alamos detailed designs of American weapons were passed to the British, including the Mk 28, 44, 45, 47, and 48 warheads and information on the TX-41 and 46 then under development. These were the most sophisticated weapon then available to the US

With this flood of data, backed by numerous tests, and representing weapons that had been engineered to a high state of sophistication and had been manufactured in large numbers, the British abandoned the idea of developing and fielding their own designs. The versatile and compact Mk-28 was quickly adopted as the design for the next British weapon and by November an American team was at Aldermaston discussing Mk-28 weapon manufacturing requirements. The goal was for the first British production unit to be completed by April 1960. History of the British Nuclear Weapon Stockpile

Blue Danube (Mark 1)

This free fall bomb was the first nuclear weapon stockpiled by Britain, going into service in November 1953. It was a pure fission bomb initially using plutonium, but later modified to use a composite plutonium/U-235 core. Tests were also conducted with a uranium only core. It had a nominal yield of 15 Kt. Based on Hurricane, the first UK tested device, it was essentially a lab-built, limited production weapon. From a technology standpoint it was probably very similar to the US Mk 4, which went into service in 1949. Like the Mk 4 it had a 60 inch, 32 lens implosion system and used a levitated core suspended within a hollow uranium tamper. The 5 ft diameter explosive sphere was in a 24 ft long weapon case. This case was almost twice as long as that used by the US in its large diameter fission bombs (10 ft 8 in), which made for a bulkier but more aerodynamically stable weapon.

It was continuously modified, so it existed in a number of "variants", some with yields up to at least 40 Kt. It was tested in Buffalo Round 2 (4 October 1956) and 3 (11 October 1956) with low yield cores providing yields of 1.5 and 3 Kt. Only about 20 were manufactured by early 1958 when production terminated. It remained in service until 1962.

Red Beard

Red Beard was a second generation fission weapon. It was a relatively light weight tactical fission bomb using a tritium boosted plutonium/U-235 composite core. Development began in 1954 and was substantially complete by 1958. Production in significant numbers began in 1959, but it was not operationally deployed until 1961. Red Beard was about 3 feet in diameter, 12 feet long, and weighed 2000 lb. These weights and diameters make it roughly the equivalent of the US Mk-5 or Mk-7 bombs, both of which went into service in 1952 (although these weapons were not boosted). The smaller size made it possible for tactical aircraft to carry it as well as strategic bombers.

It was tested in Buffalo Rounds 1 (27 September 1956) and 4 (22 October 1956) with yields of 15 and 10 Kt respectively. A variable yield of 5-20 Kt has been claimed for this weapon. This device was adapted as the primary for the first British thermonuclear weapons, tested in 1957. Red Beard was in service from 1961 to 1971. A maximum of 80 bombs was in RAF inventory, and about 30 in the Fleet Air Arm stockpile, during the early 1960s.

Violet Club

This interim air dropped bomb had an estimated yield of 500 Kt. The case was very similar to the Mark 1, its weight was 9000 lb. Deployed in early 1958, only five were planned for deployment. The deployed bombs were subsequently converted to Yellow Sun Mk 1 bombs.

The device used in Violet Club was called Green Grass. This device had not been previously tested, and was based on a design prepared for Grapple (but also apparently not tested), although its yield was predicted from devices that were tested in Grapple. Based on this, and the similarity in names, it may be surmised that Green Grass is based on Green Bamboo (bamboo is a type of grass after all). The probable alteration was to reduce the fissile content (to perhaps 75 kg or so) thus making better use of Britain's scant U-235 stockpile. The severe safety problems of this design clearly indicate a high fissile content. The intent would have been to provide a high yield weapon that could be quickly deployed in reasonable numbers (impossible for Orange Herald).

Yellow Sun Mk 1

This was Britain's first deployed "true" H-bomb. Violet Club incorporated fusion fuel but represented an awkward, expensive, inefficient, dead-end design. Yellow Sun Mk 1 employed the radiation implosion technology demonstrated during Grapple in 1957. This was a megaton range weapon that entered service in 1958. Since the first such design had been successfully tested only in November 1957, it may be assumed that these weapons were akin to the US "emergency capability" thermonuclear weapons deployed in 1954. That is, they were thermonuclear systems that would work, and could be delivered, but cut a lot of corners in engineering and military requirements areas like safety, reliability, cost, stockpile life, flexibility, efficiency, etc. The high yield tests of April and September of 1958 may have been in part refinements of this design.

The Yellow Sun Mk 1 warhead was about 4 feet wide and 9 feet long, the whole weapon was 21 feet long. Probably only a few were deployed. The decision to adopt the advanced American Mk-28 thermonuclear weapon design, made in September 1958, brought Yellow Sun Mk 1 manufacture and development to a halt.

Yellow Sun Mk 2/Red Snow
It is believed that this weapon was the British manufactured version of the Mk-28 1 megaton warhead. The first of these was completed in April 1961. The weapon seems to have been the same size as the Yellow Sun Mk 1, even though the Mk-28 is a much smaller weapon. Presumably the Mk-28 warhead itself is what is referred to as "Red Snow", but it was deployed in the Yellow Sun weapons case. This may seem inefficient to use a large heavy case for a small weapon, but in fact it probably minimized force integration effort and cost. Aircraft, trained crews, and handling facilities were all already available to carry the larger weapon after all. It may also have been desirable to conceal the radical reduction in warhead size.

The Yellow Sun Mk 2/Red Snow entered service in 1961. During their initial deployment, they displaced the similar sized Blue Danubes then in service. The Mk 2s remained in service until 1972, when they were phased out by the WE-177. A maximum of 150 were built.

Blue Steel

This was Britain's first nuclear missile. The Blue Steel was a liquid fuel air-to-surface strategic missile, carried by the British strategic "V-bombers" - the Vulcan B.2A and Victor B.2R. The missile began development in 1956, and entered service December 1962 with full operational status being achieved during 1963. The last Blue Steel was w1thdrawn from Victor squadron service at the end of 1968, and from Vulcan service at the end of 1970. Originally a large 200 Kt fission warhead was planned, but this was later changed to a thermonuclear warhead with a yield of 1 megaton or more. This warhead was most likely an adapted Mk-28. About 57 of the missiles were ordered, and about 40 were deployed

The Blue Steel was 10.7 m long, had a wing span of 4.0 m, and weighed 6800 kg. It traveled at up to Mach 2.5, with a maximum range of approximately 200 km. The missile used in inertial navigation system that provided an accuracy of 100-700 yards (CEP).

WE 177

The WE 177 free-fall bomb is currently Britain's only air-delivered nuclear weapon. With its expected retirement by the end of 1998, the UK will no longer have any aircraft carried nuclear capability. This bomb was produced in three versions - the relatively high yield strategic A and B versions (200-400 Kt), and the lower yield tactical C version (approx. 10 Kt). The A and B versions entered service with the RAF in 1966, the C version was deployed by the Royal Navy in 1971 as a strike/depth bomb. The retirement of the C version was announced in June 1992. The origin of the WE 177 is not clear. It is believed to be based on American designs, most likely the B-61 if it is indeed a single basic design. It has been suggested that the C version may be a different design from the A and B versions, in which case the B-57 is a plausible candidate for this version. US documents indicate that in 1961 Britain had plans to produce B-57 variants.

The WE 177A weighs 272 kg (600 lb) and has a maximum yield of 200 Kt, the WE 177B weighs 431 kg (950 lb) and has a maximum yield of 400 Kt. Both weapons are variable yield designs. Although they are both one-point safe, they lack insensitive high explosive or fire-resistant pits. Both variant are parachutes retarded for low level delivery and can be used in laydown mode (time delayed detonation on the ground).

Quantity production of the WE 177 was delayed until the 1970s due to the production demands of the Polaris warhead which ended in 1969. Deployment was completed by the late 70s.

Polaris Warhead

There is some confusion about whether there were really two Polaris warheads (that is, "physics packages") or only one. The initial deployment of the three warhead A3T Polaris SLBM was accompanied by the production and deployment of a British-produced warhead, apparently a version of the American W-58 200 Kt warhead deployed on the US Polaris A3. Later an update of the Polaris missile force, known as the Chevaline program, was carried out with the modified missiles being re-designated the A3TK. This update included a new bus (upper stage), new RVs, and a sophisticated penetration aid (decoy) package. It is not completely clear whether the existing Polaris warheads were simply repackaged, or whether a completely new model was introduced. Due to Britain's limited weapons development and production capacity it seems likely that the warheads used to equip Chevaline, were based on the preexisting Polaris warheads.

Immediately after the 10 June 1963 decision by the British Admiralty to acquire the next-generation A3T Polaris SLBM (in preference to the A2 version then deployed by the US, Aldermaston began full-scale developmental work on the Polaris warhead. The design is said to be completed in the spring of 1966, with production beginning in 1966 or 1967. The "developmental" and "design" work associated with this warhead presumably involved adapting the already proof-tested American W-58 warhead to manufacture in a British plant. The warheads were deployed in Mk-2 RVs purchased from the US

The Polaris A3 was the first multiple warhead missile, equipped with three MRVs (multiple re-entry vehicles). The MRVs were dispersed around a central aiming point, they were not independently targeted. Four Polaris subs of the Resolution class were deployed, each with 16 missiles. It is believed that only 144 warheads (plus possibly a some spares) were manufactured, enough to equip three subs at a time. The fourth boat was in port for maintenance and refitting at any given time.

Two mid-life update programs were instituted for the Polaris missile. The first and best known was the Chevaline program. It began in secret (as is true of all British nuclear programs) in the late sixties when the Soviet Union began deploying an ABM system around Moscow. Although this system eventually turned out to be very limited in scope, concern about the continuing potency of the British deterrent developed and proposals were made to develop a countermeasure system to improve the ability for Polaris to penetrate these defenses. The program was not an original British undertaking, but was based on a classified US program called Antelope which had made available to the UK in 1967. Studies of the concept were made in 1967, by 1969 the Chevaline concept was defined, and by 1972 the system had been worked out in detail.

Chevaline was a complex system was based on the coordination of the 16 missiles on a single submarine, maneuver by the RVs to elude interceptors, along with multiple decoy re-entry vehicles, and hardening of the warhead against ABM weapon effects. Each missile would fly a different trajectory so that all missiles would arrive simultaneously over the target (Moscow) and release two real warheads (reduced from the three of the AT3) plus four decoy RVs, and a large number of decoy balloons. The defense would be presented with 96 simultaneous maneuvering targets to intercept (even after the balloon decoys burned up). The system proved far more difficult to develop and deploy than expected.

The first Chevaline warhead was tested 23 May 1974 (possibly designated the TK-100). The public disclosure occurred on 24 January 1980 during a debate in Parliament. Sea trials of Chevaline were conducted in November 1980. Production of the Chevaline warhead ran from 1979-1982 with 100 warheads being produced. Chevaline went on patrol for the first time mid-1982 with deployment completed in 1987.

The second update program for Polaris involved remanufacture of the solid fuel motors. This program began in 1981, and led to the installation of new motors in all missiles during 1986-87.

Trident Warhead

The first batch of British Trident warheads were completed in September 1992. They were designed by the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston, and are assembled at Aldermaston and Burghfield. The warheads are though to have similar characteristics to the US W-76 now on US Trident I and II missiles.

The British Trident warheads are capable of selective yield, ranging from under a kiloton up to the full yield of 100 Kt or so (this appears differ from US SLBM warheads). The Current British Nuclear Weapon Stockpile
Given the historical paucity of information provided by the British government on its nuclear arsenal, precise estimates of its size are difficult to make. In recent years the British have trimmed their nuclear arsenal to just two types of nuclear weapons: the WE177 A/B bomb (200-400 Kt) and the Trident missile warhead (100 Kt). By the end of 1998 though, the WE177 will be retired leaving only a single nuclear weapon system in service - the Trident submarine.

Current plans are for the Royal Navy to complete the construction of four Vanguard-class nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs). The first submarine of the class, the HMS Vanguard, went on its first patrol in December 1994. The second, the Victorious, entered service in December 1995. The Vigilant was launched in October 1995, and is expected to enter service in the summer or fall of 1998. The final sub, the Vengeance, is under construction with an estimated launch date of 1998, with service likely in late 2000 or early 2001.

Each submarine carries 16 Trident II missiles, supplied by the United States. The government announced in October 1997 that it had just purchased seven more missiles at a cost of 100 million pounds, bringing the total number purchased to 58 Trident IIs. Presumably at least another six (plus some spares) will be purchased to fill out the four boats. The missiles are not actually owned outright by the UK however. Instead the Trident II missiles belong to a pool of missiles managed by the United States and stored at Kings Bay, Georgia. British boats pick up their load of missiles at Kings bay when they are commissioned and exchange them there when missiles need servicing. The Trident warheads are mated to the missiles on-board the submarine at the Royal naval Armament Depot at Coulport.

For its previous submarine fleet, the Resolution class Polaris missile subs, the UK produced only enough warheads for three of the four boats, so that warheads were rotated from boats in port to ones that were setting out on patrol. If this practice continues to be followed, then warheads for 48 missiles will be stockpiled (plus some spares). The number of warheads per missile is uncertain however. The Defence Ministry has announced that each submarine will deploy no more than 96 warheads (for an average of six per missile) and "may carry significantly fewer". This indicates an upper bound of 288 warheads. Currently no more than 192 are thus in service, and production continues.

Beginning in 1996 the UK adopted the strategy of "sub-strategic deterrence". This is basically the same idea as the US policy of "flexible response". It entails having a range of nuclear options, especially limited ones. Some Trident missiles are thus downloaded to a single warhead so that it is possible to launch a strike without using multiple warheads. The Trident warheads also offer multiple yields - probably 0.3 Kt, 5-10 Kt and 100 Kt - by choosing to fire the unboosted primary, the boosted primary, or the entire "physics package". According to the 1996 Defence White Paper this policy will become fully operational when the Vigilant goes into service. A submarine on the sub-strategic mission would carry 56-72 warheads during patrol. This places an upper bound of 248-260 warheads when the Trident deployment is complete, but will likely be lower (possible a little more than 200). At any given time two subs with 130-150 warheads between them will be on patrol, with a third in port that could put to sea fairly quickly.

Currently the Royal Air Force (RAF) operates eight squadrons of 12 dual-capable (nuclear/conventional) Tornado GR-1/1A strike/attack aircraft. Four squadrons are stationed in Bruggen, Germany (Nos. 9, 14, 17, and 31). Two squadrons (Nos. 12 and 617) are assigned to Lossiemouth, Scotland where they fill a maritime strike role. Tornado reconnaissance squadrons 2 and 13 are based at Marham, It is likely that Tornados assigned to maritime strike and reconnaissance roles have a reduced stock of nuclear bombs.

A total of 175 WE 177 bombs are in service with two versions - A and B - with maximum yields of 200 and 400 Kt. The C free-fall/depth bomb version (of which 25 were built) had a yield of 10 Kt and has now been retired. On 4 April 1995 the government announced that the remaining WE 177s would be withdrawn from service by the end of 1998. On 1 May 1996, Defence Secretary Michael Portillo announced that Bruggen AFB will close in 2002.

Active British Stockpile: End of 1996
The approximate composition of the British stockpile was:


                    PRODUCED    (Kt)            Mt   Equiv. Mt

Trident MIRV          1992       100     160    16      34.5

WE 177 A/B Bomb                200/400   175    70      95

GRAND TOTAL                              335    86     129.5

Active British Forces: End of 1996


                  DEPLOYED          PAYLOAD (kg)


Tornado GR.1/1A     1982      96     1300/       1-2 x WE177 A/B  175


Trident II D-5      1994      32     7400/       4-6 x MIRV       160 British Nuclear Installations

In the United Kingdom nuclear weapons development, acquisition and deployment now occurs entirely within the organizational structure of the Ministry of Defense (MoD). The organization within the MoD responsible for the development, manufacture, and servicing of nuclear weapons is the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), which is under the authority of the Procurement Executive of the MoD. The AWE came into existence on 1 September 1987 through the merger of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE) at Aldermaston, and the Directorate of Atomic Weapons Factories (aka the Royal Ordnance Factories, or ROF) at Burghfield and Cardiff. Prior to its transfer to the MoD in 1973, the AWRE had been under the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority since 1954.

AWE Aldermaston
This is the central facility of the British nuclear weapon establishment. It is located at Aldermaston, near Reading, in Berkshire. This facility not only performs most research activities, it also develops weapon designs, and manufactures the majority of weapon components, including nuclear components. It was officially established 1 April 1950 on the site of a World War II airfield. Weapons development work was transferred there from the codenamed "High Explosive Research" (HER) project at Fort Halstead in Kent. The AWE employs about 5000 people.

The facility at Aldermaston covers 880 acres and is broken up into 11 areas. The main administration building is F6.1 in the F area. Area A is known as the Citadel, it occupies the north side of the site and includes the plutonium manufacture and pit fabrication facilities. The A1 plutonium manufacturing buildings were the original fabrication facilities that opened in the early to late 50s. They became badly contaminated in 1978 and were closed, but were reopened in 1982 to manufacture the Chevaline warheads. Operation continued long after its planned closing date, and it manufactured the first Trident warheads. The replacement A90 complex began construction in 1983 and after many delays went into operation in 1991 (5 years late). The A90 complex has 300 glove-box production units, and now handles Trident plutonium component production.

AWE Aldermaston is organized into three major departments relating to weapons development: the Warhead Physics Department, the Warhead Design Department, and the Materials Department.

The Warhead Physics Department is responsible for research and analysis of the fundamental physical processes involved in nuclear weapons. It is divided into the Mathematical Physics Division (conducts theoretical work and computer modelling and simulation), the Warhead Hydrodynamics Division (conducts experimental work in the processes of weapon assembly and disassembly), the Radiation Physics Division (conducts experimental work in both nuclear radiation physics and radiation hydrodynamics), and the Foulness Division (conducts explosive experiments at Foulness in Essex).

The Warhead Design Department develops the complete nuclear weapon design. It is divided into the Weapon Engineering Division ("physics package" design), the Weapon Diagnostics Division (system testing for EMP and nuclear hardening, etc.), and the Electronic Systems Division (fuzing and arming systems development).

The Materials Department develops the materials and processes required to design and manufacture nuclear weapons. It is divided into the Chemistry and Explosives Division, the Chemical Technology Division, and the Metallurgy Division.

AWE Burghfield
The Royal Ordnance Factory (ROF), Burghfield (now AWE Burghfield) was established in 1954 as the final assembly plant for nuclear weapons (the British equivalent of Pantex). It is located 5 miles southwest of Aldermaston and covers 265 acres, although since 1976 it has been omitted from all British maps. It employs some 600 people. Many of the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons are manufactured at Burghfield - including electronic components, and various casing and component packaging materials. At any given time a number of weapons may be stored there for servicing or disassembly.

AWE Cardiff
Located in Llanishen, 3 miles north of Cardiff, Wales, AWE Cardiff has been involved in nuclear weapon component production since at least 1963. It has a work force of 400 and specializes in high precision components and complex assemblies. Essential parts of thermonuclear weapons, and beryllium/U-238 tampers for fission primaries are manufactured there. Up to 50 tons of depleted uranium may be stored on site. In 1987 AWE Cardiff used 2300 kg of beryllium. Servicing/disassembly of nuclear weapon components also occurs at the facility.

AWE Foulness
This is a 2000 acre test range located on remote Foulness Island on the northern edge of the Thames estuary near Shoeburyness. High explosive tests are conducted at the range, both for weapons development and safety, and to simulate nuclear weapon blast effects.

Sellafield/Windscale/Calder Hall
The main plutonium production site in the United Kingdom is at Sellafield (renamed Windscale when the reactor facility was first built, but now reverted to the original name Sellafield) in north-west England, located on the Cumbrian coast of the Irish Sea. Two 100 MW air-cooled graphite-moderated natural uranium plutonium production reactors (the Windscale Piles) were built there starting in 1950. The first reactor went critical in October 1950, the second in June 1951. These Piles operated until Windscale Pile No. 1 caught fire on 7 October 1957. The fire burned for five days, releasing tens of thousand of curies of radioiodine, and 240 curies of polonium-210 which was being manufactured in the reactor for weapon neutron initiators. During the 11 reactor-years of combined operation these piles produced about 385 kg of weapon-grade plutonium.

Starting in 1956 four more reactors were built at Sellafield - the Calder Hall (CH) Magnox reactors. The Calder Hall reactors entered service between October 1956 and May 1959. These were 180 MW carbon-dioxide cooled reactors with a dual-purpose: they could produce both weapons grade plutonium and electricity. Weapons grade plutonium production tends to interfere with the most economical production of electricity (requiring more uranium for fuel, longer shut down times, and more spent fuel handling), so they were not operated continuously for weapons grade plutonium production. Weapons plutonium production appears to have occurred during 1956-64, the late 1970s, and the mid-late 1980s. These reactors were uprated (as were the identical Chapelcross reactors) to 240 MW in the 1960s, and then downrated slightly in the 1970s.

Sellafield is also the location of British fuel reprocessing facilities, now operated by British Nuclear Fuels Limited (BNFL). The original plant employed the Butex separation process and went into operation on 25 February 1952. The first billets of impure plutonium were produced 31 March 1952. There are now two main plants - the older B205 facility used for Magnox fuel and the newer THORP (thermal oxide reprocessing plant) facility which handles only civilian fuel and is safeguarded. The B205 plant has a capacity of 1,500 tonnes of spent fuel per year , compared to 1,200 tonnes/year for THORP.

Four more military production reactors, identical to the Calder Hall models but designated "CX", are located at Annan, near Dumfries on Solway Firth in south-west Scotland. Although these reactors have been used for plutonium production, they are also the principal source of tritium for the UK. Although Britain is known to have produced kilogram quantities of tritium before 1970 (6,7 kg of it were exported to the US) the initiation of tritium production at Chapelcross was announced in April 1976. Tritium has apparently been purchased from the US at certain times.

Total Plutonium Production
In addition to the militarized nuclear reactors mentioned above, prior to 1969 spent fuel was diverted from other civilian nuclear reactors as well. Attempting to estimate British weapons plutonium production from these many sources is quite difficult. The best estimates have been made by Albright, Berkhout, and Walker in Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium 1996, SIPRI Press. Their net estimate is that Britain produced 3.6 tonnes of weapon grade plutonium in reactors (using fuel burnups of 400-800 megawatt-days/tonne) +/- 0.5 tonnes. About 0.5 tonnes has been effectively lost through reprocessing waste, expenditures in tests, and transfers to the United States. Another 8.7 tonnes of fuel or reactor grade plutonium is also in military inventory.

A British nuclear industry report on plutonium holdings for 1995 showed that British Nuclear Fuels PLC held a total 85 tonnes tonnes of civilian plutonium. 54 tonnes are owned by UK utilities and 31 tonnes owned by BNFL or its overseas customers. Of this 85 tonnes, 39.5 tonnes remains in spent fuel. Only 66 kg was listed as being in MOX fuel exported, none in MOX stock. All separated plutonium had more than 15% Pu-240. The military plutonium stockpile was given as 4.5 tonnes held in various forms by the UK Atomic Energy Authority.


Britain's indigenous supply of enriched uranium is supplied by the gaseous diffusion plant at Capenhurst, originally the site of a Royal Ordnance factory, 25 miles from Risley in Cheshire. Although an enrichment plant was authorized in October 1946, the site was not selected until early 1950. Capenhurst made its initial start up in February 1952, but did not successfully enter operation until 1953 (producing low enriched uranium), and did not produce highly enriched uranium (HEU) until 1954. The plant was given successive upgrades during the fifties, reaching a military significant capacity of 125 kg of highly enriched uranium a year in 1957, and much higher levels in 1959 (as much as 1600 kg/yr, or an enrichment capacity of 325,000 SWU/yr). Capenhurst operated as a source of HEU at full capacity only until the end of 1961. Most of the stages were shut down at that point and the plant converted to low-enriched uranium production for civil reactor use. The 1996 SIPRI estimate was 3.8-4.9 tonnes of HEU being produced, almost all of it in 1959-1961.

The original gaseous diffusion plant was dismantled in 1982, and a new gas centrifuge plant was built called Capenhurst A3. This plant has a capacity of 200,000 SWU/yr and has never produced HEU. After start up ion 1984-85 it produced 4.5% enriched uranium for export to the US either for further enrichment to HEU or in exchange for an equivalent amount of HEU. Since 1993 Capenhurst A3 has been operated as a civilian fuel enrichment plant operated by Urenco under IAEA safeguards.

The majority of Britain's HEU supply was purchased from the United States. Prior to 1970 6700 kg of HEU was imported. An estimated 4000 kg has been acquired from the US since that time. The total amount of HEU acquired by the UK since the start of its nuclear program is estimated by SIPRI at 15.1 tonnes, of which 5.8 tonnes have been used in submarine reactors, 1.0 tonnes used in nuclear tests, and 0.5 tonnes lost in processing wastes. This leaves 7.8 tonnes available for weapons use (+/- 25%)

Principal sources for the section in the United Kingdom are:

7.2.4 France History of French Nuclear Weapon Development

Although France had been a leading nation in research in nuclear physics before World War II, it lagged badly behind the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and even Canada, in the years immediately afterward. Progress had been slight under German occupation, and it was largely cut off from the rapid advances made during the war (in contrast Britain had been an active participant with the US in much this research, and large quantities of material about it had been passed on to the Soviet Union).

A decree by the French provisional government, issued 18 October 1945 under the authority of President and General Charles de Gaulle, established the French Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique, or CEA). Like the US AEC (established later), it had authority over all aspects of nuclear affairs - scientific, commercial, and military. Raoul Dautry was appointed Administrator-General and Frederic Joliot-Curie, France's preeminent nuclear scientist, was made High Commissioner. The site for the main nuclear research facility was selected at Saclay, south of Paris, but initial work began at a temporary site while the Saclay facility was constructed. The site selected was the old fortress of Fort de Chatillon on the outskirts of Paris. There France's first nuclear reactor, the heavy water/natural uranium oxide EL-1 or ZOE (Zero power, uranium Oxide fuel, and Eau lourde - or heavy water), was constructed. ZOE went critical 15 December 1948.

During 1949 the CEA constructed a laboratory scale plutonium extraction facility (initially really just a plutonium chemistry research lab) at Le Bouchet that worked with irradiated fuel from ZOE. On 20 November 1949 the CEA announced that it had extracted its first milligram of plutonium as a pure salt. Le Bouchet extracted 10 mg by the end of 1950, and 100 mg by the end of 1951. By that time a sophisticated extraction process based on solvent extraction with tributyl phosphate, similar to the American Purex process, had been developed. A pilot industrial processing plant was subsequently built at Fontenay-aux-Roses where the first gram of plutonium was isolated from spent fuel rods from ZOE in 1954.

In 1952 a second reactor entered service, the EL-2 (or P-2) at Saclay. This was a heavy water moderated, natural uranium metal reactor, cooled by pressurized gas. Between 1954 and 1957 the Fontenay-aux-Roses pilot plant produced about 200 grams of plutonium from EL-2 fuel.

Although de Gaulle had been an enthusiastic supporter for acquiring atomic arms immediately after the war, in the latter forties interest languished. Part of the reason for this was the high profile of French communists who (in keeping with the internationalist line emanating from Moscow) opposed proliferation. In fact High Commissioner Joliot-Curie himself was an ardent communist, a fact that kept France frozen out of American, British, and Canadian nuclear activities.

In 1951 Joliot-Curie was dismissed as High Commissioner and replaced by Francis Perrin in April. In August Felix Gaillard was appointed Secretary of State for Atomic Energy (later to become Prime Minister and order France's first nuclear test). On 21 August Administrator-General Dautry died, and was replaced in November by Pierre Guillaumat. Under the leadership of these three men, a five-year plan for atomic energy was drawn up by the end of 1951. This plan, approved by the National assembly in July 1952, authorized the construction of industrial scale plutonium production facilities at Marcoule on the Rhone River - although without any discussion of the military implications of this program.

By this time large deposits of uranium had been discovered near Limoges, in central France, providing them with an unrestricted supply of nuclear fuel. The G-1 reactor at Marcoule, was a natural uranium, graphite moderated design, which could be constructed solely with France's own internal resources. G-1 went critical in 1956 at a power level of 38 MW (thermal) and was capable of producing 12 kg of plutonium a year (later increased to 42 MW by 1962). G-1 operated until 1968. Subsequently work began on a reprocessing plant at the same site, built by Saint-Gobain Techniques Nouvelles (SGN). Two larger reactors of similar design, G-2 and G-3, were completed in 1959 with operating powers of 200 MW each (later increased to 260 MW).

Official approval for developing nuclear weapons was not authorized until late 1954, even though by then the necessary plutonium production program was well advanced. Following the route of French forces at Dien Bien Phu, and the loss of then French Indochina, France's interest in nuclear weapons to bolster its national prestige took a sharp upswing. On 26 December 1954, Prime Minister Pierre Mendes-France met with his cabinet and authorized a program to develop an atomic bomb. On 28 December a new Bureau of General Studies (Bureau d'Etudes Generales) was created with General Albert Buchalet as head to pursue this option. In 1955 the Armed Forces Ministry (Ministre des Armees) began transferring funds in large amounts to this program.

The next blow to French morale, the humiliating Suez Crisis of October 1956, further intensified development efforts. The Crisis involved a joint British-French (and Israeli) invasion of Egypt. The US vigorously opposed the invasion, and Britain's commitment to it quickly collapsed. These events acted to make France deeply suspicious of relying on allies for support, an attitude instrumental in France's later decision to abandon NATO's defense structure and develop its own independent nuclear deterrent. It is probably no coincidence that on 30 November 1956 the Ministre des Armees and the CEA signed a memorandum committing them to arrange a nuclear weapon test.

The most outspoken proponent of nuclear weapons in the military, Col. Charles Aillert, became a general in 1956 and on 10 June 1958 was put in charge of the Commandement des Armes Speciales (Special Weapons Command). On 11 April 1958 Felix Gaillard, the last Prime Minister of the Fourth Republic, signed an official order for the manufacture and testing of a nuclear device. Late in 1958 Charles de Gaulle returned to power as the first President of the Fifth Republic. The nuclear weapons program now had the enthusiastic backing of a forceful leader, holding a newly created powerful executive office. It was under de Gaulle's leadership that France's independent force de frappe (strike force) came into being.

The first French nuclear test, code-named Gerboise Bleue, was detonated at 0704 GMT on 13 February 1960 at Reggane in Algeria (00.04 deg W, 26.19 deg N) atop a 105 m tower. This device, a prototype for the AN-11 warhead deployed three years later, used plutonium and a notably high yield of 60-70 Kt. No other nuclear power has ever detonated such a powerful device as its first test.

France continued to use the Reggane site for the next three atmospheric tests. The last of these, on 25 April 1965, was really a low yield "scuttle" of the test device to prevent it from falling into the hands of mutineers during the "Revolt of the Generals", set in motion three days earlier by General Maurice Challe. These atmospheric test brought severe condemnation from other African nations, so all subsequent tests in Algeria shifted to underground testing at In Ecker in southern Algeria. Testing in Algeria continued until 16 February 1966, three and a half years after Algeria had gained independence. France's testing program then moved to the Mururoa and Fangataufa Atolls in the South Pacific.

Through the early sixties, France concentrated on fielding high yield pure fission designs intended as strategic weapons. A series of warheads (the AN-11 and AN-22 bombs, and the MR-31 missile warhead) had yields from 60 to 120 Kt. These weapons all used plutonium as the only fissile material. The 120 Kt yield probably represents a practical upper limit for pure fission plutonium weapons.

France began a program to develop ballistic missiles on 17 September 1959 with the creation of a special company called SEREB (the Society for Research and Development of Ballistic Engines). The technology had to be developed from scratch with the goal of building missiles for both land and sea basing with an intended range of 3500 km. The flight test center for the project, code-named "Precious Stones", was based in the Algerian Sahara.

On 26 November 1965 France launched its first satellite. The first ballistic missile to be developed - the SSBS S2 (Sol-Sol Balistique Strategique) IRBM (intermediate range ballistic missile) began testing in launches in October 1965. It was deployed on the Plateau d'Albion between Marseille and Lyon where 18 silos were built in two groups of 9. The missile force, armed with the 120 Kt pure fission MR-31, finally went operational on 2 August 1971.

In 1965 a large gaseous-diffusion plant went into operation at Pierrelatte, initially producing only low enriched uranium. In 1967 the rest of the plant was completed and highly enriched uranium became available for weapons, the first HEU being delivered in April. Accordingly the next design tested and introduced (the MR-41) was a boosted fission design using HEU with a yield of 500 Kt. Three tests were conducted between 7 July and 3 August with a combined yield of over 1000 Kt, indicating both a high production rate and rapid incorporation into test devices.

In 1965 also a shift towards tactical weapons began. Lower yield pure fission designs for a tactical bomb (the 6-25 Kt AN-52) and a battlefield missile warhead (the 10-25 Kt AN-51 for the Pluton missile). These weapons entered the stockpile in 1972-73.

Sometime in the early sixties, an effort to develop thermonuclear weapons began. The man chosen to lead the project was a brilliant young physicist employed by the CEA named Roger Dautry. Little is known about this program, but it came to fruition in the Canopus test at 18:30 on 24 August 1968 over Fangataufa Atoll. In this test a 3 tonne device suspended at an altitude of 600 m from a balloon produced a yield of 2.6 megatons (and became the largest nuclear device France ever tested). The device used a lithium-6 deuteride secondary jacketed with highly enriched uranium and heavily contaminated the atoll, leaving it off limits to humans for six years.

In June 1962 the Coelacanthe Program was formed to coordinate the development of a nuclear ballistic submarine fleet among the CEA (for warheads and naval reactors), and the Defense Ministry's Directorates of Missiles (Direction des Engins, DEN) for ballistic missiles, and Naval Construction (Direction des Constrouctions Navales, DCN) for submarines. The French Strategic Oceanic Force (Force Oceanique Strategique, or FOST) was formed in 1967 to operate the fleet.

France's first class of strategic missile submarine (usually designated by SSBN, but called in France "sous-marins nucleaires d'Englins" or SNLEs) was the Redoubtable class of five SSBNs was deployed between 1972 and 1980. The lead ship of this class, the Redoubtable, was launched 29 March 1967, but did not enter operational service until 1972, when it began its first patrol on 28 January. These submarines originally carried 16 MSBS M1 SLBMs (later replaced by the M2 and then the M20 SLBM), armed with the 500 Kt MR-41. France's first thermonuclear weapon, the 1 Mt TN-60, was finally deployed in 1976 atop the third generation of French SLBMs, the MSBS M20. The TN-60 was eventually replaced with a reduced weight TN-60, redesignated the TN-61.

Although five submarines were deployed, missiles were purchased to equip only four at a time. This reflects the fact that only four SLBMs are available for deployment at any given time, the fifth sub is undergoing servicing or overhaul. This practice of equipping only four subs at at time remains in force.

The seventies saw a number of modernization programs initiated.

In 1978 a fleet updating program began in which a new second-generation submarine sharing the same basic hull design as the Redoubtable class would be built but incorporating the latest technologies and carrying a new missile, the MSBS M4A, the first French missile to be armed with MIRV warheads (six 150 Kt TN-70 thermonuclear weapons). This new submarine was named the L'Inflexible and was deployed 1 April 1985. Subsequently all of the Redoubtable class SLBMs were overhauled and refitted to the new standard set by L'Inflexible, with the exception of the Redoubtable itself, which was "paid off" (retired) in October 1991. Between October 1987 and February 1993 the other four refitted submarines were returned to service now redesignated as part of the L'Inflexible class.

The initial phase of development for the MSBS M4 started in 1978 when the submarine fleet updating program was authorized. Before the first production M4A was built (in 1984), a missile updating program for the M4 began in 1983. The MSBS M4B went into service in December 1987 armed with the new TN-71 warhead, a reduced weight and hardened version of the TN-70.

Development was initiated in 1972 on a second generation of IRBM, the SSBS S3. This missile replaced the S2 on a one-for-one basis. The S3 began service in June 1980 and was fully operational by January 1983, the same time an EMP hardening program began. By September 1984 all 18 missiles were hardened and designated the SSBS S3D (for durci, or hardened). The SSBS S3/S3D was armed with the same TN-61 thermonuclear warhead as the MSBS M20.

In the early 1970s interest developed in extending the ability of aircraft to deliver nuclear weapons by equipping them with a nuclear armed missile. Such a missile would permit the delivery of nuclear warheads against highly defended targets, extend the effective range of an aircraft, allow it to attack multiple targets more quickly, and allow older aircraft to remain useful in service longer. The ASMP (Air-Sol Moyenne Portee) program was launched in May 1978, and entered the French nuclear arsenal in May 1986. The ASMP was originally armed with the 300 Kt thermonuclear TN-80, which was later replaced by the lighter TN-81. History of the French Nuclear Weapon Stockpile

AN-11 Bomb
This free fall bomb was the first nuclear weapon stockpiled by France, going into service in 1964. It was a pure fission plutonium implosion design, a development version of which was fired in France's first nuclear test on 13 February 1960. A prototype bomb was first tested 1 May 1962. The bomb was intended for high altitude delivery against strategic targets by France's first strategic nuclear bomber - the Mirage IVA (entered service October 1964). A live drop from a Mirage IVA was conducted 19 July 1966. The bomb weighed 1500 kg, and had a yield of 60 Kt. The bomb was stockpiled from 1963, when full-scale production commenced, to November 1968. About 40 were built. Replacement by the AN-22 began in 1967.

AN-22 Bomb
This bomb replaced the AN-11, which it resembles in most respects. It was a pure fission plutonium bomb, originally weighing 1400-1500 kg, with a yield of 60-70 Kt, intended for free-fall delivery from Mirage IVA bombers. It went into service in late 1967 and was retired July 1988. The bomb had improved safety features. Modifications while in service reduced its weight by half (with yield unchanged) and equipped it with a retarding parachute for low-level delivery. About 40 bombs were built, one for each of the 36 Mirage IVA aircraft in service. As the Mirage IVAs were retired in the late eighties so were their bombs. The last squadron retired 1 July 1988.

MR-31 Warhead
This missile warhead was in the stockpile from 1970 to June 1980. It was test fired 11 September 1966. It armed the SSBS S2 IRBM, and entered operational service with the first nine S2s in August 1971. The remaining nine S2s went operational in April 1972. It remained in service until the last SSBS S2 was retired, the S2/MR-31 combination being replaced by the SSBS S3/TN-61.

The warhead was an pure fission plutonium warhead with a yield of 120 Kt and a weight of 700 kg. This is probably the highest yield plutonium fission device ever developed. The warhead was unhardened, it is probably a practical impossibility to harden a large pure fission warhead like this against predetonation effects.

MR-41 Warhead
The MR-41 was France's first boosted fission warhead, and its highest yield non-thermonuclear warhead. The MR-41 was in the stockpile from 1971 to 1979 and armed the MSBS M1 and M2 SLBMs. The initial development of the warhead began in 1963, and a second development stage ran from 1966 to 1971. This design was based on highly enriched uranium boosted with deuterium and tritium. It was tested 15 July 1968 and 3 August 1968. The final design was tested 12 June 1971. It had a surprisingly light weight for a high yield fission bomb, about 700 kg, and had a yield of 500 Kt. Fabrication of warhead components began in 1969. The MR-41 went into operational service with the first patrol of Le Redoubtable on 28 January 1972. About 35 warheads were built to support two sets of strategic submarine missiles loads (16 MSBS M1/M2 missiles each for two subs). The MR-41 was replaced by the TN-60, which armed the MSBS M20, between 1977 and 1979.

AN-51 CTC Warhead
The AN-51 was based on a pure plutonium fission warhead design called the MR-50 CTC (charge tactique commune, or common tactical charge). The MR-50 design was tested 2 July 1966 with a yield of 30 Kt, the AN-51 was proof tested 5 June 1971 with a yield of 15 Kt. The AN-51 was used to arm the Pluton tactical missile which went into service 1 May 1974. The last AN-51 was manufactured January 1977, the warhead was stockpiled from 1973 to 1993. There were two yield variants - one with a 10 Kt yield, and a high yield version of 25 Kt. The warhead was relatively light, weighing about 500 kg. A total of 70 warheads were manufactured, one for each of 70 missiles (assigned two to a launcher).

AN-52 CTC Warhead
The AN-52 was France's first tactical warhead, and like the AN-51, was based on the same warhead design - the MR-50 common tactical charge (CTC, charge tactique commune). The AN-52 was a low yield parachute retarded bomb deployed with the Mirage IIIE and the Jaguar A aircraft of the Air Force, and the Super Etendard for naval aviation (Aeronavale). The AN-52 was airdropped 28 August 1972 (yield 6.6 Kt). It was stockpiled from October 1972 to September 1991. There were two yield variants - one with a 6-8 Kt yield, and a high yield version of 25 Kt. The bomb weighed 455 kg, was 4.2 m long, with a body width of 0.6 m (0.8 m fin span). 80-100 bombs were manufactured.

TN-60/61 Warhead
This is a family of thermonuclear warheads that began development at least as far back as 1968, when the first developmental nuclear tests were conducted. The first member of this family, the TN-60, was also France's first thermonuclear weapon. The development process was quite lengthy, requiring 21 nuclear tests spread over eight years. The resulting warhead was relatively sophisticated however, similar to US designs of the early sixties such as the W-56 Minuteman II warhead fielded in 1963. The TN-60 was replaced by the improved TN-61 which was lighter in weight and was hardened against nuclear weapon effects. The TN-60/61 family was used to arm both submarine launched missiles (the MSBS M20 and MSBS M4) and land-based missiles (the SSBS S3).

The first TN-60 was transferred from the CEA to the military on 24 January 1976, and effectively entered service in early 1977 when the first SSBN patrol carrying the MSBS M20 missile was made. The TN-60 did not remain in service for long since it was quickly superseded by the TN-61, which entered service late in 1977. Both warheads had a yield of 1 megaton, the TN-61 weighed 275-375 kg (700 kg with re-entry vehicle). The lighter weight of the TN-61 allowed the addition of penetration aids (e.g. decoys) to the RV. Enough TN-60/61 warheads were built to arm four submarines at a time, a total of 64 warheads. A maximum of about 70 warheads total were in stockpile at any given time (to allow for spares). The last TN-61 was withdrawn from naval service in February 1991.

The TN-61 also armed the SSBS S3 missile based in silos on the Plateau d'Albion. The first set of nine TN-61 armed missiles went operational 1 June 1980, and the second set of nine on 1 January 1983. About 20 TN-61s were built for land-based deployment (18 on duty, and 2 spares). The TN-61 was retired from service with the deactivation of the SSBS S3D on 16 September 1996. A total of about 90 TN-61s were manufactured for all purposes.

TN-70/71 Warhead
The TN-70/71 thermonuclear warhead family has lower yield, lower weight, and higher survivability compared to its TN-60/61 predecessor. The smaller warhead size allows the TN-70/71 to be used for arming missiles with multiple warheads (MIRVs). Six MIRV TN-70/71 warheads are used to arm each MSBS M4A and M4B SLBM. Both warheads have a yield of 150 Kt. The TN-70 weighs less than 200 kg, the TN-71 less than 175 kg. This makes the TN-71 (stockpiled starting in 1985) roughly similar to the US W-76 Trident warhead (stockpiled starting in 1978) in size and yield.

The development of warheads suitable for MIRV deployment started in December 1972, the first nuclear tests occurred in 1974. The first TN-70 was transferred to the military on 12 July 1983 and went on patrol on 25 May 1985. A total of 96 TN-70s were deployed on a single set of 16e MSBS M4A missiles. In 1985 manufacture of the improved TN-71 began, and the first set of these warheads went on patrol on 9 December 1987. A total of three sets of warheads were deployed (288 on 48 MSBS M4B missiles). Since the total number of M4A/B missiles had declined to 48 by the end of 1996, it may be that the TN-70 has already been removed from service.

TN-80/81 Warhead
The TN-80/81 warhead is a miniaturized, hardened nuclear warhead for the ASMP air-surface missile. The TN-80/81 family is similar to the TN-70/71 in technical sophistication. It is a higher yield warhead though, roughly similar in yield and weight to the US W78 Minuteman III warhead (deployed in 1979). The TN-80/81 has a yield of 300 Kt, and a weight of about 200 kg.

Development of the TN-80 may have started as early as 1974, but in any case it was underway before the end of 1977. It became operational on 1 September 1985, and full deployment was reached by December 1987 when all 18 Mirage IVPs were armed. The improved TN-81 was first tested in 1984 and began manufacture in 1987. It entered service 1 July 1988 on the Mirage 2000N, was then deployed on the Super Etendard, and finally replaced the TN-80 on the Mirage IVP in 1991. A total of 65 TN-81s were deployed. All are expected to remain in service beyond 2005.

TN-90 Warhead
This tactical missile warhead was intended to arm the Hades battlefield missile, replacing the AN-51 armed Pluton. The Hades was originally slated to be armed with an enhanced radiation warhead ("neutron bomb") which France had developed in the late 70s/early 80s. Instead the TN-90, a variable yield thermonuclear warhead with a maximum yield of 80 Kt was deployed. The TN-90 is equivalent to the US state of the art in this warhead class, and incorporates safety features such as insensitive high explosive. Development began in 1983, series production began in 1990. A total of 30 were built, entering service in 1992. The Hades/TN-90 was never actually deployed to the field. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, President Mitterand declared in September 1991 that the procurement of Hades missiles would be slashed from 180 to 30, and that they would be put in storage as they were built (the only targets reachable from France were in the newly reunified Germany). With the retirement of all French land-based missiles in 1996 the warheads were transferred to storage at Valduc awaiting disassembly.

TN-75 Warhead
Despite its lower number than the TN-90, the TN-75 is actually the last warhead to be developed and proof-tested by France. Completing the proof testing of this warhead was a major motivation for France's final and much criticized test series in the South Pacific. This warhead brings French strategic warhead technology up to par with the US The TN-75 is a highly hardened, miniaturized, safety-enhanced thermonuclear MIRV warhead with a yield of 100 Kt. It is a stealthy warhead with a low radar cross section to evade detection and interception. It is being deployed on the new MSBS M45 SLBM, to replace the current MSBS M4B/TN-71 combination. The combination of a lighter warhead and an improved booster provide extended range. This is the only French warhead now in production. The Current French Nuclear Weapon Stockpile

France completed its sixth and last test in its 1995-96 Pacific test series on 27 January 1996. This 120 Kt explosion, the largest of the series and probably a test of the TN 75 warhead, was declared to be the last France would ever conduct by PM Jacques Chirac two days later.

On 23 February 1996 Chirac announced a major restructuring of France's nuclear posture. As part of a dramatic overall reduction in French military structure (the largest in Europe), Chirac announced the elimination of all land-based nuclear missiles, and a halt in production of all fissile material for weapons. The 18 SSBS S3D MRBMs based on the Plateau d'Albion were retired (being deactivated on 16 September 1996), along with the Hades tactical missile (currently in storage). Plans are going forward though to upgrade the air and sea-based legs of the French nuclear arsenal. The submarine fleet will eventually be re-equipped with the M51 long range ballistic missile, and the ASMP nuclear missile carried by the Mirage 2000N (and the Rafale after the turn of the century) will be upgraded. The scale of all these programs has been reduced over original plans however.

It is estimated that the French nuclear arsenal reached its historical peak size in 1991-92 with about 538 warheads. It currently has some 450 warheads (of three types) in service, which is expected to decline to around 400 (of two types - the TN-75 and the TN-81) by 2005.

France and the US signed an agreement to share data on nuclear weapons design on 4 June 1996. The agreement builds on 1961 and 1985 accords to share information on the "safety, security and reliability" of nuclear installations and weapons systems. Under the agreement, the United States will share computer data drawn from simulated explosions, information considered so sensitive that it has previously only been shared with the UK. The agreement aims to facilitate work on eight different scientific challenges posed by the global test ban, including ensuring that existing warheads remain potent as their components age, and preventing accidental detonation of these warheads or their seizure by extremists. To avoid handing over information that could be used to design new weapons, the US decided to release the classified results of computer simulations that describe the workings of fission devices, but not the fusion stages. Since fusion energy cannot be released without detonating a fission trigger, safety and security issues for thermonuclear weapons can be adequately addressed by only considering the fission primary.

Recently, for the first time, the French government has published figures on civilian plutonium in France. A total of 206 tonnes was held. This consists of 55 tonnes of separated plutonium (as isolated plutonium or in fresh MOX fuel), nearly half of which belonged to foreign customers, and the balance in spent fuel. Of the latter, 64 tonnes was in spent fuel at reactors and 87 tonnes at reprocessing plants. Production of military plutonium remains classified, but is estimated by SIPRI to have been 6.0 tonnes (+/- 1.7 tonnes) by the end of 1995. Due to losses from processing and weapons tests the current inventory is about 5.0 tonnes (+/- 1.4 tonnes). In May 1993 the CEA Administrator-General announced that France had ceased production of plutonium for military purposes in 1992.

No figures are available about actual inventories of weapon grade uranium, but SIPRI estimates that some 45 tonnes (+/- 30%) of highly enriched uranium could have been produced by Pierrelatte. After subtracting losses from various causes (naval reactor use, weapons tests, etc.) they estimate 22-26 tonnes (+/- 30%) of weapon grade material may have be on hand, two to three times the amount probably required for their arsenal.

With the retirement of its tactical and strategic land based missiles, the bulk of France's nuclear force rests with its L'Inflexible class strategic missile submarines. On 24 July 1981, pres. Mitterand announced plans for an entirely new third generation submarine class to be called Le Triomphant. Originally slated to be a fleet of six submarines, in May 1992 this was scaled back to four. The lead ship of the class, Le Triomphant (S 616), was rolled out in Cherbourg on 13 July 1993 and went into service late in 1996, carrying the new MSBS M45 SLBMs. These successors to the MSBS M4B missile are an updated extended range version of the M4 family and are armed with the new TN-75 warhead. The second boat, Le Temeraire, is under construction and won't go into service until mid-1999. As each boat is deployed it will replace one of the L'Inflexible class. Future modernization plans call for replacement of the M45 missile with the M51 during 2010-15.

The TN-75 is the only nuclear warhead currently being manufactured. It is being produced at the Centre d'Etudes de Valduc (Valduc Research Institute, the "Pantex of France"), near Is-sur-Tille, 40 km north of Dijon. The program to develop the TN-75, a miniaturized hardened stealthy thermonuclear warhead of moderate yield, began in 1987. Developmental testing of the warhead ended in 1991, but Chirac asserted in June 1995 that a full yield proof test was needed prior to deployment. Its first full-yield test was probably the 110 Kt detonation on 1 October 1995 at Fangataufa. Series production began soon afterward, and probably will continue until 2001-2003. Since at about 100 Kt the TN-75 has reduced yield compared to its predecessor the TN-71 (150 Kt) the MSBS M45 missile will carry a somewhat smaller amount of firepower.

The other leg of the French Force de Dissuasion (Deterrent Force, formerly the Force de Frappe or Strike Force) consists of the ASMP missile (Air-Sol Moyenne Portee) carried on the Mirage 2000N and the carrier-based Super Etendard (the Mirage IVP having been retired in July 1996). The ASMP has carried the burden as France's air delivered nuclear weapon since 11 September 1991 when Mitterand announced the retirement of the AN 52, France's last nuclear gravity bomb. The number of Mirage 2000N aircraft committed to nuclear missions has been reduced from 75 in 1989 to 45 today. These are deployed in two squadrons at Luxeuil and Istres. The number of nuclear capable Super Etendard aircraft is scheduled to be reduced from 55 to 24 (only 20 missiles are available to equip them in any case). A possible future modernization of this arm may be to deploy a range-enhanced "ASMP plus" (500 km vs. 300 km). The Rafale next-generation multipurpose fighter/bomber, now being procured at a (very) slow rate will eventually replace both the Mirage 2000N and the Super Etendard. By late 1996 only 10 Rafales (out of a planned deployment of 234) had been delivered. The Navy has priority for the Rafale and 8 of the 10 delivered so far have been the naval version. The air force will form its first operational squadron in 2005.

The AN 51 Pluton warheads and the AN 52 gravity bombs have already been dismantled at Valduc. Currently the 18 TN 61 one Mt warheads from the S3 MRBMs, and the 30 TN 90 variable yield warheads for the Hades are in storage awaiting disassembly. The dismantlement of the land-based ballistic missile silo complex will be completed in 1998.

Active French Stockpile: End of 1996
The approximate composition of the French stockpile was:


                        PRODUCED  (Kt)               Mt   Equiv. Mt

TN 70/71 for MSBS M4A/B           150       288    43.2     81.3

TN 75 for MSBS M45                100        96     9.6     20.6

TN 81 for ASMP                    300        65    19.5     29.1

GRAND TOTAL                                 449    72.3    131.0

Active French Forces: End of 1996


                   DEPLOYED        PAYLOAD (kg)  Per Vehicle    TOTAL

AIRCRAFT (Land Based)

Mirage 2000N       1988       45     2750/      1 x ASMP TN 81   45

AIRCRAFT (Carrier Based)

Super Etendard     1978       24      650/      1 x ASMP TN 81   20



MSBS M4A/B         1985/87    48     6000/      6 x TN 70/71    288

MSBS M45           1996       16     6000/      6 x TN 75        96


ASMP               1986       90      300/      1 x TN 81        65 French Nuclear Installations

Just as the old AEC once did on the United States, the CEA administers all nuclear activities in France. Military programs are controlled by the Military Application Division (Direction des Applications Militaires, or DAM), which was created on 12 September 1958. There are six DAM research centers (Centre d'Etudes) for the research, design, and development of warheads as well as their manufacture and assembly. The DAM is also responsible for the production of weapon grade nuclear materials.

Centre d'Etudes de Limeil-Valenton
Located in Villeneuvre-Sain-Georges, 15 km southeast of Paris, this is "France's Los Alamos" the central weapon design laboratory. The site is an ancient fortress that was appropriated for atomic weapons work on 3 September 1951. The first French nuclear device was assembled there, at Batterie de Limeil, and on 1 January 1960 it became Centre d'Etudes de Limeil. It expanded until it overran the commune of Valenton, and now comprises 12.5 hectares. It has a staff of about 950.

Centre d'Etudes de Valduc
This research center is "France's Pantex", the site were weapons are actually assembled and disassembled. It is near Is-sur-Tille on the Cote-d'Or, 25 km north of Dijon. It was established in 1958. In 1986 it employed over 1000 people. In addition to weapons manufacture, it processes waste products from weapons manufacture and conducts high pressure research on nuclear materials (e.g. plutonium). It is equipped with a high pressure gas gun for shock compression studies.

Centre d'Etudes du Ripault
Located in Mont-sur-Guesnes, in the Indre-et-Loire, 30 km south of Chinon, this center manufactures high explosives components (detonators, insensitive and liquid high explosives, etc.), performs stockpile maintenance functions, and has an accident response team. It was established in 1962 and now occupies 103 hectares. It has over 80,000 square meters of buildings and employs about 800 people.

Centre d'Etudes Scientifiques et Techniques d'Aquitaine (CESTA)
This research center is located in Le Barp in the Gironde, 30 km southwest of Bordeaux. It is France's equivalent of Sandia Laboratories - it performs militarization and production engineering functions for warhead designs developed by Limeil-Valenton. It was established in 1965 and occupies 700 hectares in the forest between Bordeaux and Arcachon.

Centre d'Etudes de Bruyeres-le-Chatel (CEB)
This research center is situated 35 km south of Paris, west of Arpajon in the Essone. It was established in 1957 and occupies 35 hectares. The Centre's activities include research on metallurgy, chemistry, electronics, seismology, toxicology, and the diagnostic measurement of nuclear explosions.

Centre d'Etudes de Vaujours-Moronvilliers
Located 17 km northwest of Paris at Vaujours in the Seine-Saint-Denis, this Centre was created in 1955. It performs explosive and high pressure research. It is equipped with shock tubes and high pressure light gas guns.

France's uranium enrichment plant is located near the village of Pierrelatte (Drome), on the Rhone river about 80 miles northeast of Marseille. The plant uses gaseous diffusion. The gaseous diffusion program began in 1953,and following a successful demonstration of a pilot plant at Saclay in 1958, approval for a full-scale plant was given. A diffusion barrier plant was built in 1960. In 1964 the first of four sections of the plant became operational, producing 2% enriched uranium. The next three sections reached full operation in late 1965, early 1966, and April 1967. when the fourth and last section became operational the plant became producing weapon grade uranium. Only the last two sections remain in operation today.

The main facility for the production of plutonium for military purposes is the complex located at Marcoule, in the commune of Bagnols-sur-Ceze in the Gard. Founded in 1952, Marcoule was equipped with France's first plutonium production reactor, the natural uranium fueled, graphite moderated, gas-cooled G1 reactor, and its first plutonium separation plant, known as UP1. Larger versions of the G1 known as G2 and G3, 250 MW each, were built in the mid-late fifties. These three reactors accounted for about half of France's total military plutonium production. Also located Marcoule are the 190 MW (thermal) Celestin I and II reactors, and the Phenix prototype breeder reactor. The Celestin reactors are heavy water designs fueled with plutonium (originally) and later with enriched uranium. These reactors have been used for civilian isotope, tritium, and military plutonium production. The 563 MW (thermal) Phenix was intended as a prototype for larger breeder power reactors, but its plutonium production appears to have been primarily for military purposes.

The G1 reactor went critical 7 January 1956, reached full power (40 MW thermal) September 1956, and was decommissioned October 1968. G1, and its larger sister reactors G2 and G3, were dual-purpose - producing both plutonium and electrical power. G2 and G3 were both 250 MW (the same size as the original Hanford reactors in the US). G2 went critical July 1958, reached full power in March 1959, and was decommissioned February 1980. G3 went critical June 1959 and was decommissioned July 1984.

The first Celestin reactor went in to operation in May 1967, and the second in October 1968. Originally dedicated to radioisotope and tritium production, they began producing military plutonium by the mid-70s. Around the decommissioning of G2 it appears their function became primarily military plutonium production. Since 1991 they have been alternating operation, only one operating at any given time. Since military plutonium production was discontinued in France in 1992, presumably these reactors are now being used primarily for tritium production again. They are expected to remain in service at least until the end of the century. These reactors have the capacity to produce some 1.5 kg of tritium annually. In their current alternate operation mode they could be producing 750 g a year, an ample amount to maintain the current and planned French arsenal (which probably requires less than 200 g annually).

Phenix started operation in 1973 and is still in service. It could have produced up to 1400 kg of military plutonium by the end of 1997, but actual production is probably substantial less.

Construction on UP1 began July 1955 and the plant reached full operation in January 1958. UP1 employs the Purex solvent extraction process. By August 1984 it had reprocessed over 10,000 tonnes of gas-cooled reactor fuel and separated more than 2.5 tonnes of military plutonium.

La Hague
A second plutonium separation plant called UP2 was built at La Hague near Cherbourg in Normandy. UP2 started operation in 1966, and can handle 800 tonnes of spent fuel a year.

Other Reactor Sites
France does not separate its civilian and military weapons programs, and has produced substantial quantities of military plutonium from civilian power reactors. Among the reactors believed to have made substantial contributions to the military stockpile are Chinon-1, Chinon-2, Chinon-3, St. Laurent-1, St. Laurent-2, and Bugey-1. The amount is highly uncertain, ranging from 500 kg to 2000 kg.

Principal sources for the section on France are:

7.2.5 China

Given China's size in terms of geography (third in the world, only slightly behind Canada), population (number one), and economy (second largest in the world by 1995 CIA equivalent purchasing power estimates, with current growth rates in the double digits), it seems inevitable that China will become the dominant power in the world within a few decades. China's leaders are acutely aware of this fact, and are also acutely aware that except for the last few centuries, China has consistently been the most powerful and advanced society in the world for 3500 years. They undoubtedly intend that China will have military capabilities commensurate with this future and historic status.

Over the years China has certainly invested a much smaller amount of resources (although not necessarily a much smaller proportion of its resources) to developing and deploying nuclear weapons than either of the two superpowers. The exact size and composition of its nuclear forces is very difficult to determine however due to strict secrecy. Force structure estimates consequently are rather uncertain, and published estimates are even a bit mysterious. It is hard to assess the ultimate source or reliability of the data provided.

To date China has conducted many fewer nuclear tests than the United States or the Soviet Union/Russia (less than 5% as many as either) and this discrepancy accounts for China's initial reluctance to sign on to a permanent ban of all nuclear tests at the CTBT negotiations, although these reservations have now been overcome with the conclusion of China's final test series.

The final test series concluded in the spring and summer of 1996. According to Japanese government sources (reported in Nihon Keizai Shimbun), the penultimate underground Chinese nuclear test on 8 June 1996 (calculated at 20 to 80 kilotons) was actually a simultaneous detonation of multiple warheads (a common practice by both the US and USSR). It was said to be part of a program to produce smaller warheads for submarine-launched and multiple-targeted missiles. Overall, the yields since 1990 have suggested that two warheads have been in development: one in the 100-300 kt range, and one in the 600-700 Kt range.

China's last nuclear test, and which with luck may be the last nuclear test ever conducted, was detonated at 0149 GMT (9:49 p.m. EDT) on 29 July 1996. According to the Australia Geological Survey Organization in Canberra its yield was 1 to 5 kilotons, registering 4.3 on the Richter Scale. This was China's 45th test, and its 22nd underground one.

It is believed that with the conclusion of this series, China has completed development of a range of warheads similar to the state of the art weapons developed by the other major nuclear powers. These would be miniaturized hardened thermonuclear warheads with yields in the tens to hundreds of kilotons. It is believed that these include enhanced radiation ("neutron bomb") warheads, and probably also variable yield options.

Since the cut-off of aid to its nuclear weapons program in 1960 by the Soviet Union, most of the technology used on the program has been developed indigenously. There has been (and continues to be) considerable concern in the West about the export of this technology to non-nuclear powers interested in acquiring these weapons. China is known to have given Pakistan considerable assistance, possibly including actual warhead designs. Recent concern has focused on Chinese deals with Iran. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, China has turned its interest to obtaining more advanced nuclear technology from the successor to its old mentor. Nihon Keizai Shimbun has reported that China has recently bought computer simulation technology for nuclear warheads from Russia.

China's nuclear delivery system program's have traditionally proceeded very slowly. This has resulted in the deployment of forces that have been one to two decades behind the other nuclear powers in technology (although cause and effect may be reversed, lack of advanced technology may have been the cause of such tardy deployments). It is believed that fewer than 250 ballistic missiles have ever been deployed (with only the first cryogenic liquid fuel missile having been retired). The vast majority of China's arsenal is not capable of reaching the United States, and thus seems geared towards deterring (or threatening) its immediate neighbors.

Current estimates assert that only 7-10 ICBMs are in service - the Dong Feng (East Wind)-5A. This low estimate seems a bit strange in light of China's ability to produce the same basic booster in larger numbers as the Long March 2 satellite launcher. The US government has stated that there are 10 DF-5As deployed in hardened silos at two sites. It is thought to carry the largest warhead ever tested by China (4-5 Mt).

China has placed little emphasis on aircraft as a strategic weapon carrier. The Hong-5 (a redesign of the Soviet Il-28 Beagle) has been retired. The Hong-6 and Qian-5 are short-medium range, light payload aircraft suitable more for tactical or regional-strategic operations. The main bomber, the Hong-6, is based on the Tu-16 Badger which entered Soviet service in 1955 and first flew in China on 27 September 1959. This plane was used to drop two live nuclear weapons in tests in 1965 and 1967. The most attractive possibility for modernization of this arm is simply to purchase advanced fighter bombers from Russia (where they are readily available on easy terms) and modify them to carry Chinese nuclear weapons. China has already purchased 26 Su-27 Flankers, and is planning to build an assembly plant for them in China. There is no information available to indicate that they have been assigned a nuclear role however.

China has had a rather unsuccessful ballistic submarine program. China has only one operational ballistic missile submarine, the Xia (No. 406). It was laid down in 1978, but apparently only entered service after 1988. A second submarine was reportedly launched in 1982. It is not now in service, and unsubstantiated reports claim it was lost in a 1985 accident. The Xia began a modernization refit in 1995 which may be completed by the end of 1997. The submarine is armed with the Julang-1 (Giant Wave) solid fuel missile. There will very probably be no more submarines of this class. A new design (Type 093) submarine, to be equipped with the longer range JL-2, is under development.

Active Chinese Stockpile: End of 1996
The approximate composition of the Chinese stockpile was:


                    DEPLOYED        PAYLOAD (kg)                Number/Yield


Hong-6 (B-6)          1965     120     3100/4500  1-3 x bomb   |150 to 180

Qian-5 (A-5)          1970      30      400/1500? 1 x bomb     |Kt to Mt 


Dong Feng-3A/CSS-2   5/1971   50-100   2800/2150  1 x 3.3 Mt 50-100/165-330 Mt

Dong Feng-4/CSS-3   11/1980   10-20    4750/2200  1 x 3.3 Mt  10-20/33-66 Mt

Dong Feng-5A/CSS-4   8/1981    7-10  13000+/3200  1 x 4-5 Mt   7-10/28-50 Mt

Dong Feng-21A/CSS-6  1985-86    36     1800/600   1 x 2-300 Kt   36/7.2-10.8 Mt

Dong Feng-31        Late 90s     0     8000/700   1 x 1-200 Kt    0

Dong Feng-41        c. 2010      0    12000/800   1 x MIRV        0


Julang-1/CSS-N-3      1986      12     1700/600   1 x 2-300 Kt   12/2.4-3.6 Mt

Julang-2/CSS-N-4    Late 90s     0     8000/700   1 x 1-200 Kt    0


Artillery/rockets/ADMs mid 70s 120                   low Kt     120/1-2 Mt

TOTAL                                                     380-480/400-600 Mt

7.2.6 Other Former Soviet States

On 26 December 1991, the day the Soviet Union broke up, three successor states - Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus - became the third, fourth, and eighth largest nuclear powers in the world. On paper anyway. None of these states had control of the strategic arsenals deployed on their territory, and wresting control from Moscow would have been quite difficult. They could have seized and made use of part of the tactical nuclear weapons stockpiled within their borders, but fortunately these were quickly relinquished by all three nations and shipped back to Russia.

The negotiations regarding the strategic arsenals present in these states, and their dismantlement, has been a slower and more difficult process. All three states have now signed the NPT, and endorsed START I, and have abandoned claims to these weapons. As of 23 November 1996, the last nuclear warheads outside of Russian were removed (from Belarus) thus completing the transition to Russia being the sole inheritor of the Soviet nuclear arsenal. Note that all of the strategic weapons mentioned below are counted as part of the Russian arsenal in 7.1.2. Ukraine

Nationalist sentiment in Ukraine initially inhibited the surrender of claims to the strategic weapons present at the time of dissolution of the Soviet Union. The first president, Leonid Kravchuk, variously used these weapons as a populist rallying point, and a bargaining tool with the West. Following his replacement by Pres. Kuchma, and after obtaining commitments of aid from the US and Europe, the Ukrainian parliament voted 301 to 8 to sign NPT on 16 November 1994. On 5 December 1994 Ukraine became the 167th member of NPT, as a consequence, on this same day the START I treaty entered force.

Ukraine began transferring nuclear warheads on its territory to Russia in March 1994, with a shipment of 60 ICBM warheads. About 540 were shipped to Russia in 1994, and 720 in 1995. The last nuclear weapon was transferred to Russia in May 1996, rendering Ukraine a non-nuclear nation.

32 SS-19 missiles will be returned to Russia, the remaining SS-19s will be placed in storage by Ukraine after removal from their silos. The silos themselves are slated for destruction, the first having been blown up 5 January 1996 at Pervomaysk.

Reportedly 19 Tu-160 Blackjack bombers are located at Priluki Air Base, and 25 TU-95 Bear-H bombers are located at Uzin Air Base. Ukraine had previously agreed on principle to return all of the bombers to Russia, and on 3 December 1996 an agreement was announced for Russia to purchase 10 Blackjacks and 15 Bears. According to Ukraine these planes are supposedly operational, but they have not flown since the collapse of the Soviet Union and Russia estimates that only one third are flyable. The planes will be paid for in cash ($320-$350 million according to Russia), spare parts and debt relief.

In 1995, the 15 operating nuclear reactors generated 70.5 trillion watt-hours of electricity, equivalent to 37% of the nation's electrical production (up from 34.2% in 1994, and 24.5% in 1990).

Accelerated development of nuclear energy is planned in Ukraine. Zaporozhe-6 was scheduled for commissioning in 1995, Khmelnitsky-2 in 1998, Rovno-4 in 1999, and Khmelnitsky-3 and -4 in 1999-2000. Installed nuclear capacity will exceed 30% of overall generating capacity, generating more than 40% of total electricity production. In December 1995, a deal was arranged at the G-7 summit to pay US$2.5 billion to arrange the closure of the Chernobyl facility by 2000, by providing replacement nuclear generating capacity.

Ukraine is moving quickly to expand its nuclear industry to provide maximum self-sufficiency. This includes expanding uranium ore production, fuel enrichment and fabrication plants, and fuel and waste reprocessing facilities. Kazakhstan

From being the fourth largest nuclear power on the day of its independence (harboring perhaps as many warheads as France, Britain and China combined), Kazakhstan has moved steadily forward in divesting itself of all nuclear weapon related materials. Kazakhstan initially had 104 SS-18 Satan (RS-20) missiles deployed at Derzhavik and Zhangiz-Tobe. By the end of 1994, 44 of the SS-18s had been removed from their silos. The remaining SS-18s were taken out of operation during 1995. By April 1995 all SS-18 warheads had been removed from Kazakhstan.

The last of 40 Bear-H bombers (27 Bear-H6, and 13 Bear-H16) were withdrawn from their base in Semipalatinsk in Feb. 1994, along with 370 AS-15 air-launched cruise missile warheads.

In a secret operation code named "Project Sapphire" in November 1994 the United States acquired approximately 600 kg of weapon grade uranium stored in Kazakhstan and flew it to the US This uranium is currently being demilitarized by blending down into low enriched uranium, a process expected to be completed by May 1996. 30 kg of plutonium has also been purchased by the US from Kazakhstan (1994).

The only nuclear reactor in Kazakhstan is the BN-350 nuclear reactor at Aktau, a design well suited for producing weapon grade plutonium. In November 1997 President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed agreements with the US to submit the spent fuel from this reactor to IAEA monitoring. Belarus

On the day of independence, Belarus had 81 SS-25 Sickle (RS-12M) missiles at two sites: Lida and Mozyr. At the end of 1994 Belarus still had 36 SS-25s, 18 at each site. In 1995 this decreased to 18, 9 in each site (one regiment per site). Although Belarus has been unhappy however with the refusal by Russia to pay compensation for the weapon fissile material removed from its territory, the last nuclear warheads were reportedly removed on 23 November 1996. Some of the SS-25 missiles remained at that time (now unarmed), but the removal of the last of these was expected by early 1997.


7.3 Suspected States

It is arguable whether India, Pakistan, and Israel should be classed as "suspected states" at this point. Although none of them is a declared weapon possessing state, in the sense that they officially admit to having deployed nuclear weapons, enough is known about their capabilities to state unequivocally that any of these states can employ nuclear weapons at will.

7.3.1 India

That India can build nuclear weapons has been an established fact since 8:05 18 May 1974 (IST), when India exploded a 12 Kt plutonium bomb 107 meters underground in the Rajasthan Desert. This test, code named "Smiling Buddha", was located at 27.095 deg N, 71.752 E, which is usually identified as being "Pokaharan" (or "Pokhran"), the name of a town that is 24.8 km southeast from the test site.

India has maintained that this test was for peaceful purposes, and that it possesses no nuclear arsenal. No plausible rationale has ever been offered for how this test advanced the cause of peace, and this explanation has recently been directly challenged. On 10 October 1997 the Press trust of India reported comments by nuclear scientist Raj Ramanna, former director of BARC - India's nuclear agency - and the man directly responsible for developing and conducting Smiling Buddha. Ramanna, who has also served as junior defense minister, was quoted as saying "The Pokhran test was a bomb, I can tell you now." He was also quoted as saying later: "An explosion is an explosion, a gun is a gun, whether you shoot at someone or shoot at the ground." He said the "peaceful" label had come "from the political side", adding: "I just want to make clear that the test was not all that peaceful."

A key motivation for India's nuclear program is undoubtedly its concern about nuclear-armed China, which faces India along much of its northern border. Disputes about this border exist: China currently occupies the Aksai Chin plateau adjacent to Ladakh, Kashmir in Northwest India; India occupies the North-East Frontier Agency claimed by China. In October 1962 China invaded India, an attack that India was powerless to respond to. China eventually withdrew voluntarily later in the year. India has also fought repeatedly with Pakistan since 1947, and holds Kashmir - Muslim territory claimed by Pakistan. Pakistan's own nuclear program now serves as justification for perpetuating India's own program, although Pakistan did not begin acquiring weapon technology until after India's nuclear test. India also has aspirations to being the dominant power in southern Asia, and may view nuclear weapons as a necessary component of acquiring this status.

The center piece of India's nuclear weapons program is the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) near Bombay which is the presumed center for nuclear weapons associated work. Not only was the Smiling Buddha device designed and largely fabricated there, but the plutonium was produced at BARC by irradiating uranium samples in the Canadian-supplied 40 MW CIR (Canadian-Indian Reactor) heavy water research reactor (also called Cirus). This reactor began operating in 1960 and can produce 6.6-10.5 kg of plutonium a year (at a capacity factor of 50-80%). The reactor is not under IAEA safeguards (which not exist when the reactor was sold), although Canada stipulated that it only be used for peaceful purposes. India argues that this allows its use in producing peaceful nuclear explosives (Ramanna's recent comments are an unofficial admission that this agreement was violated).

India probably began its development of a nuclear device shortly after China tested its first nuclear weapon in the mid-60s. A design had been developed by 1971, when Indira Gandhi decided to proceed with the manufacture and test of the device. According to Raj Ramanna, the director of BARC at the time, it took another two years to separate, purify, and fabricate the plutonium metal, and to manufacture the implosion lens systems and associated electronics. Most of the work was done at BARC, but the explosive lenses were made by the Defense Research and Development Organization. Apparently the precise implosion electronics gave them considerable trouble. It is rumored that an initial test of the device failed, probably due to a failure of these electronics. The neutron initiator was a Po-210/Be type code-named "Flower", which took a long time to design and assemble. Although the assertion that the test was for peaceful purposes can be dismissed (especially in light of Ramanna's recent admissions), the bomb was almost certainly an experimental test device, not a weapon in deployable form.

Whether India actually maintains an arsenal of assembled weapons is debatable. The US CIA testified before congress in 1993 that it does not believe that India maintains assembled or deployed nuclear weapons, although it believes India is producing weapon components. In 1990 P, K. Iyengar, then head of the Indian Atomic Energy Agency, said "In how much time we make it, will depend on how much time we get." The obvious conclusion is that nuclear weapons are maintained in ready-to-assemble form.

India has developed indigenous plutonium production reactors. On 8 August 1985 the 100 MW Dhruva was commissioned, it is based on the Cirus design and can produce 20-25 kg of plutonium a year. Startup problems plagued Dhruva, but it began operating at one-quarter power in December 1986 and reached full operation in mid-January 1988. It is capable of producing 16-26 kg of plutonium annually (at a capacity factor of 50-80%).

An additional possible source of plutonium are a number of unsafeguarded CANDU power reactors, including Madras Atomic Power Stations (MAPS, known as Madras I and II, or MAPS-I and MAPS-II); the Narora Atomic Power Stations (NAPS, known as NAPS-I and NAPS-II), and the Kakrapar Atomic Power Station (KAPS). Like CIR and Dhruva, the CANDU reactors are heavy-water moderated natural uranium reactors that can be used effectively for weapon-grade plutonium production. The possible production by MAPS is much larger than CIR and Dhruva combined, although the fuel burnup in power reactors of this type normally produces lower grade plutonium that is less desirable for weapons. Each power station reactor could produce up to 160 kg/yr (at a 60% capacity factor). It is uncertain how practical it is to operate MAPS for weapons grade plutonium production, although even the reactor-grade output has weapons potential. If supergrade plutonium were produced at BARC by short irradiation periods, it could be mixed with MAPS plutonium to extend the plutonium supply. In 1989 India had a total of 8 power reactors operating, producing 1478 MW (electrical), but with 13 more planned or under construction that would boost electrical output by another 5100 MW.

The separated plutonium for the 1974 test was produced at the separation plant in Trombay, near to Bombay, capable of processing 50 tonnes of heavy metal fuel/yr. Construction on the first facility there began in the 1950s, and began operating in 1964. In 1974 it was shut down for repair and expansion and reopened in 1983 or 1984. Trombay handles the fuel from both the Cirus and Dhruva reactors.

India also can separate plutonium in the Power Reactor Fuel Reprocessing (PREFRE) facility. This plutonium separation plant was built at Tarapur, north of Bombay, and began operating in 1979. The plant has encountered operating problems, but India reports having overcome these by 1990. The nominal annual capacity is given as 100-150 tonnes of CANDU fuel. A much larger plant is now under construction at Kalpakkam sufficient to handle all existing reactors.

Given its immense thorium resources, India is actively interested in developing the thorium/U-233 fuel cycle. India is known to have produced kilogram quantities of U-233 by irradiating thorium in CIR, Dhruva, and MAPS reactors. Substantial production of U-233 is not practical though with natural uranium fueled reactors. The thorium cycle requires more highly enriched fuel to have an acceptable breeding ratio with the non-fissile thorium blanket. Reactor-grade plutonium from MAPS could serve as start-up fuel for U-233 plants in the future. If available U-233 is as effective a weapon material as plutonium.

India has been developing the capability to produce heavy water domestically to provide the moderator load for future reactors. The heavy water for the existing reactors was imported however. Canada provided the heavy water for CIR. The 110 tonnes of unsafeguarded moderator for Dhruva and Madras I and II were ironically provided by China.

Taken together, India has developed an extensive plutonium production and reprocessing capability. SIPRI has estimated that India had produced 420-450 kg of weapons-grade plutonium through the end of 1995 (70-100 bombs worth). These estimates are based solely on CIR and Dhruva production. About 100 kg of plutonium has been consumed though, principally in fueling two plutonium reactors, leaving 320-350 kg of plutonium available for weapons. Approximately 1000 kg of unsafeguarded reactor-grade plutonium also exists.

India has acquired and developed centrifuge technology and built centrifuge enrichment plants in Trombay and Mysore in the 1980s. The larger Rare Metals Plant (RMP), as it is called, at Mysore has a cascade capable of producing 30% enriched uranium in kilogram quantities, beginning in 1992-93, although reliability has been a problem. These enrichment plants appear to have no role in India's power reactor development plans, so they may be intended to offset the prestige of Pakistan's enrichment capability, or to provide additional standby weapons production capability. India has reported that it plans to build an enriched uranium reactor, and a domestically fueled nuclear submarine.

India has developed short and medium-range missiles (the Prithvi, range 250 km, and the Agni, range 2500 km) capable of carrying light nuclear weapons (500-1000 kg). India has an active space program which could provide the technology for eve longer range weapons. India reportedly has investigated development of an ICBM-class missile called Suriya.

India denies having produced additional plutonium pits for nuclear weapons. India's interest in light weight weapon design can be surmised from BARC's acquisition in the 1980s of a vacuum hot pressing machine, suitable for forming large high-quality beryllium forgings, as well as large amounts of high purity beryllium metal. India is known to manufacture tritium, and may have developed designs for fusion-boosted weapons.

India is not a signatory to NPT and has opposed the treaty as discriminatory to non-weapons states. India has previously taken the position that a world-wide ban on nuclear testing, and the production of fissionable material for weapons is called for. Except for China, which continues testing, there is now a de facto halt to testing worldwide, as well as the production of weapons grade plutonium and uranium by the US and Russia. India has shown no interest so far in restricting its own activities despite these changes in the world situation. India has also rejected offers at bilateral negotiation with Pakistan, but in December 1988 the two nations signed an agreement prohibiting attacks on each other's nuclear installations and informing each other of their locations (though not their purposes).

During the fall of 1995 India changed its position on the CTBT from supporting to opposing it on the grounds that while the five nuclear states possessed weapons, a ban on nuclear tests was discriminatory. On 15 December 1995, the New York Times reported that India might be preparing for a second nuclear test. The newspaper quoted (unnamed) US government officials as saying spy satellites have recorded activity at the Pokaharan test site in the Rajasthan desert in recent weeks. It said, however, that intelligence experts could not tell whether preparations were being made to explode a nuclear bomb or whether they involved some other experiments connected with India's nuclear weapons program. The Indian government called the New York Times report "highly speculative" but stopped short of an outright denial. Strong domestic support for such a move was shown in an India Today survey of 2000 adults on 5 December 1995 (before the Times story). It showed 62 percent of the respondents would approve if India exploded an atom bomb to develop its nuclear weapons capability. Pakistan indicated that such a move might cause it to conduct its first test.

7.3.2 Iran

Iran is actively pursuing a nuclear power program, and US intelligence believes that is pursuing nuclear weapons as well. Reports have been accumulating for several years regarding Iranian efforts to obtain weapons related materials and technology outside of NPT supervision.

Iran has not been officially accused of violating the NPT. The concerns appear to due to general patterns of behavior in acquiring dual use technology, and suspected intentions, rather than any concrete violation (so far). There has apparently been much interest by Iran in acquiring technology and materials applicable to early-generation gas centrifuges - such as maraging steel, high strength aluminium alloys, and a variety of numerically controlled machine tools - from Western Europe, Russia, China, and Pakistan. Given the similarity to the weapons efforts of Pakistan and Iraq, this is cause for special concern.

In 1996 the deputy minister for atomic affairs, Reza Amrollahi, visited the South African nuclear facility at Pelindaba. He is reported to have requested an extensive list of items essential for nuclear weapons production, a list that was rejected. Previously Iran has attempted to purchase hundreds of tons of South African uranium concentrate (yellowcake).

There was a reported attempt in 1994 to purchase weapons-grade uranium from the Ulba (or Ublinsky) Metallurgical Plant in Kazakhstan. The US later removed some 600 kg of HEU from Kazakhstan in Operation Sapphire, but the material had been poorly guarded for up to two years prior, so complete recovery of all HEU cannot be assured. However claims widely circulated in previous years that Iran had stolen two nuclear weapons from the post-Soviet stockpile in Kazakhstan have been completely discredited.

A September 1997 report from Jane's International Defense Review relates unsubstantiated reports of Iran hiring nuclear experts from Russia and South Africa.

Russia has agreed to construct two 1000 MW (electric) light water power reactors, and a 30-50 MW (thermal) light water research reactor in Iran that would be built and operated under NPT safeguards. The deal also includes the sale of 2000 tons of natural uranium, assistance in the development of a uranium mine, and originally included the sale of a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant as well. Although Iran is a signatory to NPT, and safeguarded power reactors have would contribute little to any weapons program, the US has protested this sale out of general concerns about enhancing Iran's access to any nuclear technology. At the US-Russian summit on 10 May 1995 between Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin in April 1995, Russia agreed to drop the uranium enrichment component of this deal, but the other parts remain intact.

As a signatory to NPT Iran has a right to safeguarded civilian nuclear technology. On the other hand, if it is trying to circumvent NPT then it abrogates that right. It is argued by some that Iran must be after nuclear weapons in its deal with Russia, since it has vast amounts of fossil fuels and has no reason to want power reactors. This is not necessarily true. Iran might want to conserve its oil and gas for export, which would be profitable if it could produce electricity from reactors more cheaply. Given the severely depressed ruble this might possibly be the case (normally nuclear power would be more expensive than domestic fossil fuel supplies).

On the other hand, purchasing enrichment technology does not make economic sense. There is a world wide glut of both enriched reactor grade uranium, and enrichment capacity. Iran reportedly has substantial domestic uranium reserves , but even using domestic uranium Iran could not develop and operate enrichment plants for civilian purposes more cheaply than it could buy reactor fuel overseas. It could even ship domestic uranium to outside countries (like Russia) for bargain basement enrichment. Similarly the sale of 2000 tonnes of natural uranium to Iran makes no sense for a domestic power program since it must be enriched to be used in a light water reactor. This amount of uranium is substantially more than was available in the either the US or the Soviet Union when those countries developed their first atomic bombs. Iran opposed the renewal of the NPT pact in the spring of 1995.

Iran appears to have dispersed its nuclear research activities rather widely to forestall possible attack. It has a nuclear research center at Isfahan, employing some 3000 people at several locations in this city. There is allegedly a secret research facility at Moallam Keliah near the Caspian Sea. Nuclear research has also been conducted at Sharif University. Iran has safeguarded hot cells that can be used to develop plutonium processing techniques on a laboratory scale. The principal government organization involved in nuclear research and development is the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI).

Iran has important reserves near Saghand in east Iran and additional deposits have been found in 10 other locations. Mining operations are underway at several of these deposits, and a number of yellowcake milling plants are in operation. Milling plants are known at Saghand, Bandar Abbas, and Bander-e Langeh (the latter two on the Gulf coast). Iran has acquired equipment and technology for producing uranium hexafluoride gas, used in gas diffusion and gas centrifuge enrichment plants, apparently from China and possibly also from Russia.

Iran possesses a 5 MW thermal reactor under IAEA safeguards at the Teheran Research Center. Iran also has a partially completed two reactor nuclear power plant at Bushehr on which more than $1 billion was spent. This plant was abandoned after Western technology was withdrawn following the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Finishing these reactors are part of the Russian nuclear project, but may not be technically practical.

Iran has received a small electromagnetic isotope separation machine from China which, while inadequate for a weapon program, will provide experience with the technology and could be reverse engineered to allow domestic manufacture. China apparently also has deals for uranium processing and fabrication facilities. A deal was recently signed to build two Quinshan-class 300 MW power reactors at Darkhovin.

It appears that Iran's nuclear weapons program, is still at a very preliminary state. Iran appears to lack the basic technologies and materials to initiate an actual development program. Iran clearly has legitimate security concerns, in light of the Iraqi attack on Iran that precipitated the 8-year Iran-Iraq war, and Iraq's own nuclear program. Its hostility to nuclear-capable Israel, and being located near the nuclear-capable states of Pakistan and India provide additional motivations.

7.3.3 Israel

Israel's involvement with nuclear technology literally extends back to the founding of the country in 1948. A host of talented scientists emigrated to Palestine during the thirties and forties, particularly one Ernst David Bergmann - later the director of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission and the founder of Israel's efforts to develop nuclear weapons. The Weizmann Institute of Science actively supported nuclear research by 1949, with Bergmann heading its chemistry division. Also in 1949, Francis Perrin - French nuclear physicist, atomic energy commissioner, and personal friend of Bergmann's - visited the Weizmann Institute, after which Israeli scientists were invited to the newly established French nuclear research facility at Saclay. A joint research effort was subsequently set up between the two nations.

At this time France's nuclear research capability was quite limited. France had been a leading research center in nuclear physics before the war, but had fallen far behind developments in the US, the USSR, Britain, and even Canada. Israel and France were thus at a similar level of expertise at the time, and it was possible for Israeli scientists to make valuable contributions. Consequently the development of nuclear science and technology in France and Israel remained closely linked in the early fifties, for example Israeli scientists were involved in the construction of the G-1 plutonium production reactor and UP1 reprocessing plant at Marcoule.

In the 1950s and early 1960s, France and Israel had very close relations. France was Israel's principal arms supplier, and as instability spread in France's colonies in North Africa, Israel provided valuable intelligence obtained from its contacts with sephardic Jews in those countries. The two nations even collaborated (along with Britain) in planning and staging the joint Suez-Sinai operation against Egypt in October 1956. The Suez Crisis, as it became known, proved to be the genesis of Israel's nuclear weapons production program.

Six weeks before the operation Israel felt the time was right to approach France for assistance in building a nuclear reactor. Canada had set a precedent a year earlier when it had agreed to build the 40 MW CIRUS reactor in India. Shimon Peres, a key aide to Prime Minister (and Defense Minister) David Ben Gurion, and Bergmann met with members of the CEA (France's Atomic Energy Commission). An initial understanding to provide a research reactor appears to have been reached during September.

On the whole the Suez operation, launched on 29 October was a disaster. Although Israel's part of the operation was a stunning success, allowing it to occupy the entire Sinai peninsula by 4 November, the French and British invasion on 6 November was a failure. The attempt to advance along the Suez canal bogged down and then collapsed under fierce US and Soviet pressure. Both European nations pulled out, leaving Israel to face the pressure from the two superpowers alone. Soviet premier Bulganin issued an implicit threat of nuclear attack if Israel did not withdraw from the Sinai.

On 7 November 1956, a secret meeting was held between foreign minister Golda Meir, Peres, and French foreign and defense ministers Mssrs. Christian Pineau and Maurice Bourges-Manoury. The French officials were deeply chagrined by France's failure to support its ally in the operation, and the Israelis were very concerned about the Soviet threat. In this meeting the initial understanding about a research reactor may have been substantially modified, and Peres seems to have secured an agreement to assist Israel in developing a nuclear deterrent.

After some further months of negotiation, the initial agreement for assistance took the form of an 18 MW (thermal) research reactor of the EL-3 type, along with plutonium separation technology. At some point this was officially upgraded to 24 MW, but the actual specifications issued to engineers provided for core cooling ducts sufficient for up to three times this power level, along with a plutonium plant of similar capacity. How this upgrade came about remains unknown.

The reactor was secretly built underground at Dimona, in the Negev desert of southern Israel near Beersheba. Hundreds of French engineers and technicians filled Beersheba which, although it was the biggest town in the Negev, was still a small town. Many of the same contractors who built Marcoule were involved, for example the plutonium separation plants in both France and Israel were built by SGN. The Ground was broken for the EL-102 reactor (as it was known to France) in early 1958. The heavy water for the reactor was purchased from Norway, which sold 20 tons to Israel in 1959 allegedly for use in an experimental power reactor Norway insisted on the right to inspect the heavy water for peaceful use for 32 years, but was permitted to do so only once, in April 1961, prior to it being loaded into the Dimona reactor tank.

Israel used a variety of subterfuges to explain away the activity at Dimona - calling it a "manganese plant" among other things (although apparently not a "textile plant" as most accounts claim). US intelligence became aware of the project before the end of 1958, took picture of the project from U-2 spy planes, and identified the site as a probable reactor complex. The concentration of Frenchmen was certainly impossible to hide.

In 1960, before the reactor was operating, France, now under the leadership of de Gaulle, reconsidered the deal and decided to suspend the project. After several months of negotiation, an agreement was reached in November that allowed the reactor to proceed if Israel promised not the make weapons and announced the project to the world, work on the plutonium plant halted.

On 2 December 1960, before Israel could make the announcement, the US State Department issued a determination that Israel had a secret nuclear installation. By 16 December this became public knowledge with its appearance in the New York Times. On 21 December Ben Gurion announced that Israel was building a 24 MW reactor "for peaceful purposes".

Over the next year the relationship between the US and Israel was strained over the issue. The US accepted Israel's claims at face value in public, but exerted pressure privately. Although Israel did allow a cursory inspection by physicists Eugene Wigner and I.I. Rabi, PM Ben Gurion consistently refused to allow international inspections. The final resolution was a commitment from Israel to use the facility for peaceful purposes, and an agreement to admit a US inspection team once a year. These inspections, begun in 1962 and continued until 1969, were only shown the above-ground part of the buildings, which continued down many levels underground. The above ground areas had simulated control rooms, and access to the underground areas was kept bricked up while the inspectors where present. The most favorable interpretation that can be given to adherence to the pledge is that it has apparently been interpreted by Israel to mean that nuclear weapon development is not excluded if the are used strictly for defensive, and not aggressive purposes. It should be remembered though that Israel's security position in the late fifties and early sixties when the nuclear program was taking shape was far more precarious than it subsequently became after the Six Day War, the establishment of a robust domestic arms industry, and a reliable defense supply line from the US. During the fifties and early sixties a number of attempts by Israel to obtain security guarantees from the US, thus effectively placing Israel under the US nuclear umbrella in a manner similar to NATO or Japan, were rebuffed. If an active policy to restrain Israel's proliferation had been undertaken, along with a secure defense agreement, the development of a nuclear arsenal might have been preventable.

In 1962 the Dimona reactor went critical, and the French resumed work on the plutonium plant, believed to have been completed in 1964 or 1965. The acquisition of this reactor and related technologies was clearly intended for military purposes from the outset (not "dual use") as the reactor has no other function. The security at Dimona (officially the Negev Nuclear Research Center) is stringent, an IAF Mirage was actually shot down in 1967 for straying into Dimona's airspace. There is little doubt then, that some time in the late sixties Israel became the sixth nation to manufacture nuclear weapons.

According to Seymour Hersh, PM Levi Eshkol delayed starting nuclear weapons production even after the Dimona facility was finished. The reactor remained in operation so the plutonium continued to collect, whether it was separated or not. It is generally believed that the first extraction of plutonium occurred in 1965, and that enough plutonium was on hand for one weapon during the Six Day War in 1967 although whether a prototype weapon actually existed or not is unknown. Hersh relates that Moshe Dayan gave the go ahead for starting weapon production in early 1968, which is when the plutonium separation plant presumably went into full operation. After this Israel began producing three to five bombs a year. William Burroms and Robert Windrem, on the other hand, assert in Critical Mass that Israel actually had two bombs available for use in 1967, and that Eshkol actually ordered them armed in Israel's first nuclear alert during the Six Day War.

Israel began purchasing Krytrons in 1971. These are ultra high speed electronic switching tubes that are "dual use", having both industrial and nuclear weapons applications.

At 2 p.m. (local) on 6 October 1973 Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in a coordinated surprise attack, starting the Yom Kippur War. Caught with only their standing forces on duty, and these at a low level of readiness, the Israeli front lines were overrun. By early afternoon on 7 October no defensive forces were left in the southern Golan Heights and Syrian forces had reached the edge of the plateau, within sight of the Jordan River. It has been widely reported that this crisis brought Israel to its first nuclear alert. Hersh reports that the decision was made by PM Golda Meir and her "kitchen cabinet" on the night of 8 October. This resulted in the Jericho missiles at Hirbat Zachariah and the nuclear strike F-4s at Tel Nof being armed and prepared for action against Syrian and Egyptian targets. US Sec. of State Henry Kissinger was apparently notified of this alert several hours later on the morning of 9 October, which helped motivate a US decision to promptly open a resupply pipeline to Israel (Israeli aircraft began picking up supplies that day, the first US flights arrived on 14 October).

Though stockpile depletion remained a concern, the military situation stabilized on October 8 and 9 as Israeli reserves poured into the battle and disaster was averted. Well before significant resupply had reached Israeli forces, the Israelis counterattacked and turned the tide on both fronts. On 11 October a counterattack on the Golan broke the back of Syria's offensive, and on October 15 and 16 Israel launched a surprise crossing of the Suez Canal. Soon the Egyptian Third Army was faced with encirclement and annihilation, with no protective forces remaining between the Israeli Army and Cairo. This prompted Leonid Brezhnev to threaten, on 24 October, to airlift Soviet troops to reinforce the Egyptians. Pres. Nixon's response was to bring the US to world-wide nuclear alert the next day, whereupon Israel went to nuclear alert a second time (according to Hersh, Burrows and Windrem do not recognize this alert). This sudden crisis quickly faded as PM Meir agreed to a ceasefire, relieving the pressure on the Egyptians.

Considerable nuclear collaboration between Israel and South Africa seems to have developed around 1967 and continued through the 70s and 80s. During this period SA was Israel's primary supplier of uranium for Dimona. An open question remains regarding what role Israel had (if any) in the 22 September 1979 nuclear explosion in the south Indian Ocean which is widely believed to be a SA-Israel joint test. This relationship is discussed more fully in the section on South Africa.

Hersh relates extensive (and highly successful) efforts by Israel to obtain targeting data from US intelligence. Much satellite imaging data of the Soviet Union was obtained through the American spy Jonathan Pollard, apparently indicating Israel's intention to use its nuclear arsenal as a deterrent, political lever, or retaliatory capability against the Soviet Union itself.

Satellite imagery from a US KH-11 satellite for example was used to plan the 7 June 1981 attack on the Tammuz-1 reactor at Osiraq, Iraq. This attack, carried out by 8 F-16s accompanied by 6 F-15s punched a hole in the concrete reactor dome before the reactor began operation (and just days before an Israeli election) and delivered 15 delay-fuzed 2000 lb bombs deep into the reactor structure (the 16th bomb hit a nearby hall). The blasts shredded the reactor and blew out the dome foundations, causing it to collapse on the rubble. This was the world's first attack on a nuclear reactor.

Since 19 September 1988 Israel has had its own satellite reconnaissance system and thus no longer needs to rely on US sources. On that day the Offeq-1 satellite was launched on the Shavit booster, a system closely related to the Jericho-2 missile. Offeq-2 went up on 3 April 1990. The launch of the Offeq-3 failed on its first attempton 15 September 1994, but was retried successfully 05 April 1995.

Both Hersh and Burrows and Windrem agree that Israel went on full scale nuclear alert again on the first day of Desert Storm, 18 January 1991, when 7 Scud missiles were fired against the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa by Iraq (only 2 actually hit Tel Aviv and 1 hit Haifa). This alert apparently lasted for the duration of the war (43 days). Threats of retaliation by the Shamir government if the Iraqis used chemical warheads are interpreted to mean that Israel intended to launch a nuclear strike if gas attacks occurred.

The principal uncertainty in evaluating Israel's weapon production capability is the actual power level of the Dimona reactor. It has long been believed that Israel has upgraded the reactor repeatedly to increase its plutonium production. The only inside account of the program from a publicly named source is that of Mordecai Vanunu, whose story was published by the London Sunday Times on 5 October 1986. Vanunu was a mid-level technician in the Machon 2 complex at Dimona for 9 years, who claimed that Israel possessed 100-200 nuclear weapons (implying some 400-800 kg of plutonium) and can produce 40 kg of plutonium a year. This production figure indicates an average operating power of 150 MW thermal. Analysts generally discount figures this high, and the consensus is that it was initially operated at 40 MW and was upgraded to 70 MW sometime before 1977. A 1996 study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) produced a somewhat lower range of estimates, concluding that Israel has produced 330-580 kg of plutonium through 1995, enough for a stockpile of 80-150 efficient weapons (the extreme estimate range was 190 to 880 kg).

Vanunu provided information indicating that the uranium fuel is subjected to burnups of 400 MW-days/tonne, a figure similar to that used by the US early in its weapons production program. This results in a high grade plutonium with a Pu-240 content of 2%. According to Vanunu 140 fuel rods are irradiated for periods of about three months before discharge for plutonium extraction. At 70 MW the Dimona reactor would consume some 48 tonnes of fuel a year and produce about 18 kg of plutonium.

Vanunu also claimed that Israel possessed fusion boosted weapons, and has developed hydrogen bomb technology. He provided information about both lithium-6 and tritium production. He stated that initially tritium was produced by a facility in Machon 2 called Unit 92 by separating it from the heavy water moderator where it is produced in small amounts as a by-product. In 1984 production was expanded when a new facility called Unit 93 was opened to extract tritium from enriched lithium that had been irradiated in the reactor. The large scale production of tritium by Israel has been confirmed by South Africa, which received a shipments of tritium totalling 30 g during 1977-79. This clearly indicates tritium production on a scale sufficient for a weapon boosting program. It is difficult to find any other rationale for such a large tritium production capability except some sort of thermonuclear weapon application.

It is quite difficult to develop gas fusion boosting technology like that used in US weapons and weapons tests are probably essential. Although radiation implosion weapons could be developed without testing, they would tend to be large and heavy and would perhaps be incompatible with Israel's available delivery systems. It is quite possible then that a Sloika/Alarm Clock type system has been developed using lithium-6 deuteride fuel surrounding the plutonium core (in fact a weapon mock-up photographed by Vanunu appears to be this type of weapon). Tritium could be used to spike the fusion fuel and boost the yield, just as the Soviets did with the 400 Kt "Joe-4".

Bomb components made of plutonium, lithium-6 deuteride, and beryllium are fabricated in level 5 of Machon 2. They are transported by convoys of unmarked cars to the warhead assembly facility, operated by Rafael north of Haifa.

Hersh reports (without any stated source) that Israel has developed an extensive array of tactical nuclear weapons: efficient compact boosted fission bombs, neutron bombs (allegedly numbering in the hundreds by the mid-eighties), nuclear artillery shells, and nuclear mines. With an arsenal that is quite possibly in excess of 100 weapons it is likely that some of the nuclear materials would be applied tactical weapons. Boosted bombs are doubtful, as are neutron bombs, due to problems with development in the absence of a significant testing program. Neutron bombs also require very large amounts of tritium (20-30 g per weapon) which would impact the production of plutonium quite seriously (each gram of tritium displaces 80 grams of plutonium production). Artillery shells are also doubtful due to their wastefulness in plutonium. Tactical weapons are probably aircraft or missile delivered, or are pre-emplaced mines.

Burrows and Windrem claim (without indicating a source) that Israel has produced 300 warheads, including those that have since been dismantled. They place the current arsenal at about 200 weapons.

Several reports have surfaced claiming that Israel has some uranium enrichment capability at Dimona. Vanunu asserted that gas centrifuges were operating in Machon 8, and that a laser enrichment plant was being operated in Machon 9 (Israel holds a 1973 patent on laser isotopic enrichment). According to Vanunu the production-scale plant has been operating since 1979-80. The scale of a centrifuge operation would necessarily be limited due to space constraints, and might be focused toward enriching depleted reactor fuel to more efficiently use Israel's uranium supply. A laser enrichment system, if developed to operational status, could be quite compact however and might be producing weapon grade material in substantial quantities. If highly enriched uranium is being produced in substantial quantities, then Israel's nuclear arsenal could be much larger than estimated solely from plutonium production.

Reports that Zalman Shapiro, the American owner of the nuclear fuel processing company NUMEC, supplied enriched uranium to Israel in the 1960s seems to have been authoritatively refuted by Hersh.

Israel produces uranium domestically as a by-product of phosphate mining near the Dead Sea but this amounts to only 10 tons a year, and is grossly insufficient for its needs. Israel has addressed this shortfall by reprocessing the low burnup spent fuel to recover uranium (which most nations do not do). It is also known to have purchased at least 200 tons of natural uranium on the world market under an alias. A major source though was some 600 tons of uranium provided by South Africa in a quid pro quo for Israel's assistance on its weapons program. Combined with uranium recycling, and the possible use of enrichment to stretch the uranium supply, these quantities may be sufficient to account for Dimona's fuel supply to the present date (1997).

Israel can undoubtedly deploy nuclear weapons using its capable air force. The aircraft and crews dedicated to nuclear weapons delivery are located at the Tel Nof airbase. Originally the F-4 Phantom II acquired in 1969 was probably the designated carrier, today it would be the F-16. The F-16 has an unrefueled radius of action of 1250 km, extending out to western Iran, the shores of the Black Sea, Riyadh, or the Libyan border. With refueling it can travel much farther of course, and an unrefueled one-way mission could take it as far as Moscow.

Israel also possesses medium-range ballistic missiles: the Jericho-1 (Ya-1 "Luz") with a 500 kg payload, and a range of 480-650 km (operational since 1973); and the Jericho 2 (either Ya-2 or Ya-3) with a 1000 kg payload and a range of over 1500 km (operational since 1990). Under development is the Jericho-2B with a range of 2,500 km. These missiles were almost certainly developed specifically as nuclear delivery systems (although chemical warheads cannot be ruled out). About 50 Jericho-1s and 50 Jericho-2s are believed to have been deployed. Israel also has a 100 or more US supplied Lance tactical missiles, with a range of 115 km (72 miles). Although these were supplied with conventional warheads, they could have been outfitted with nuclear or chemical ones.

Both the Jericho 1 and 2 are two stage solid-propellant missiles. The Jericho-1 is about 10 m long, 1 m wide, and weighs 4500 kg. The Jericho-2 is about 12 m long, and 1.2 m wide with a launch weight of 6500 kg. The Jericho-1 was developed in the mid-sixties with French assistance. It is believed to be based on the Dassault MD-600. Jericho-2 development is indigenous, and started soon after the Jericho-1 was deployed. Test launches began in 1986 and the first two had ranges of 465 km (1986) and 820 km (1987). The Jericho-2 shares the first two stages of the civilian Shavit (Comet) space launch vehicle, which launched Israel's first satellite, the Offeq-1, in September 1988.

The Jericho 1 and 2 are deployed near Kfar Zachariah and Sderot Micha in the Judean foothills, about 23 km east of Jerusalem (and about 40 km southeast of Tel Aviv). Located a few kilometers to the northwest is Tel Nof air base. Images of the missile complex made by commercial satellites have been published in recent years, and September 1997 Jane's Intelligence Review published a 3-D analysis of high resolution pictures taken by the Indian IRS-C satellite.

The complex is compact - smaller than 6 km x 4 km. The missiles are mobile, being deployed on transporter-erector-launchers (TELs), and are based in bunkers tunneled into the side of the limestone hills. There are no signs of missile silos. TELs require firm, accurately leveled ground in order to launch, and maximum missile accuracy requires pre-surveyed launch points. Consequently there are a number of prepared launch pads (paved culs-de-sac) connected to these bunkers by paved roads. Images of an actual Jericho 2 TEL indicate that it is about 16 m long, 4 m wide, and 3 m high. It is accompanied by three support vehicles (probably a power supply vehicle, a firing control vehicle, and a communications vehicle). The Zachariah missile base was enlarged between 1989 and 1993 during the Jericho-2 deployment. A few kilometers north of Tel Nof is the Be'er Yaakov factory where the Jericho missiles and the Shavit are believed to have been manufactured.

From its deployment location in central Israel the Jericho-1 missile can reach such targets as Damascus, Aleppo, and Cairo. The Jericho-2 can reach any part of Syria or Iraq, and as far as Teheran, and Benghazi, Libya. The Jericho-2B will be able to reach any part of Libya or Iran, and as far as southern Russia. The short range of the Lance limits it mainly to battlefield use, although the Syrian capital of Damascus is in range from much of northern Israel. According to Jane's World Air Forces, Israel has three Jericho-equipped missile squadrons.

Also located at the site are a group of 21 bunkers thought to contain nuclear gravity bombs. Five of the larger ones are about 15 m wide and 20 m long, and rise 6 m above ground.

Israel has taken active steps to prevent nations that are officially at war with it from acquiring nuclear capabilities. The bombing of the Osiraq reactor in Iraq in 1981 is the most famous case, but an earlier sabotage of the reactor core in France prior to shipment is probably attributable to Mossad.

Israel's official policy is that it will not be the first nation to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. In contrast to the coy hinting of some undeclared weapon's states, Israel thus actively denies possessing nuclear weapons. Its obvious capability in this regard has thus established de facto deterrence, while minimizing (but not eliminating) domestic and international controversy.

7.3.4 Libya

Despite having signed the NPT in 1975, Col. Qaddafi has openly declared an intention to develop nuclear weapons. There is little evidence of progress in this quest however. it is suspected that he is attempting to acquire nuclear weapons ready-made.

It was reported in the September 1997 Jane's Defense review that Judith Miller, formerly head of the New York Times bureau in Cairo, was told by a senior presidential aide in Libya that the country had offered China and India US$15 billion each for a single atomic bomb.

Libya operates a 10 MW thermal research reactor at the Tajoura Research Center. This is a Soviet supplied light water/highly enriched uranium type that is subject to IAEA safeguards.

North Korea

North Korea appears to have begun an active program of weapon development in 1980, when the construction of a small natural uranium-graphite power reactor began at Yongbyon, 100 km north of Pyongyang. Intelligence revealed the project in 1984, prior to its operation in 1986. The reactor is based on 1950s MAGNOX technology (graphite moderator, aluminum-magnesium clad natural uranium fuel, CO2 gas cooling) which is very good for producing weapon grade plutonium as a byproduct. After startup problems, it was operating at 20-30 MW by 1990.

A larger 50 MW MAGNOX-type reactor is under construction at Yongbyon with a completion date in 1995. A 200 MW of the same design is under construction at Taechon, 60 miles north of Pyongyang (completion is possible as early as the beginning of 1996), and a 600-800 MW reactor is also underway at Taechon (completion possible by 1997). The largest of these reactors could produce 180-230 Kg of plutonium a year, enough for 30-40 weapons. It is almost certainly intended for power production, but the potential for dual use exists.

A large secret plutonium separation facility was built at Yongbyon early in the 1980s capable of handling several hundreds of tons of fuel a year, enough to handle fuel from all of the reactors. The existence of this plant was discovered through intelligence in 1989.

A small radiochemical laboratory in located in Pyongyang, built with Soviet aid in the 1970s. Small quantities of plutonium were separated there in 1975 from Soviet-supplied irradiated fuel.

Under pressure from the Soviet Union, North Korea joined Non-Proliferation Treaty on 12/12/85, and told the IAEA of the existence of the Yongbyon facility. On 5/4/92 North Korea made its initial declaration of its holdings of nuclear material. During an inspection by the IAEA soon after to verify this declaration, North Korea revealed that it had separated 100 g of plutonium in March 1990. Subsequent analysis of the composition of samples allowed the IAEA to determine that more plutonium had been separated than the North Korean had admitted. The plutonium samples examined by the IAEA had a composition of 97.5% Pu-239, and 2.5% Pu-240. This indicates a fuel burnup of 330 MW/days at the time of removal, indicating 16 kg of plutonium existed in the reactor core at the time. This implies that it had operated about 45% of the time (assuming a 25 MW operating level) since fuel was first loaded. Requests for additional inspections led North Korea to announce its withdrawal from the NPT on 3/12/93.

North Korea did not actually withdraw from NPT, but tense negotiations continued over the next year during which N. Korea refused to comply with the treaty. On 4/8/94 N. Korea shut down its reactor in preparation for refueling. Up to this time N. Korea had kept the original load of fuel in the reactor (it said), the earlier separations were allegedly from damaged fuel rods that had been replaced. On 5/12/94 North Korea finally began unloading the 50 tonnes of irradiated fuel from its reactor. If the earlier operating regime had been followed, the fuel contains some 32 kg of weapon-grade plutonium (5-6 bombs worth), although 25 kg is considered more probable. The range of plausible estimates is 17-33 Kg. The maximum possible amount (assuming unrealistic operating conditions: full power for 80% of the time) is 53 Kg. So far this fuel has not been reprocessed.

The CIA believes that North Korea removed up to half of the fuel during a 1989 shutdown. Assuming 55% operation up to this time, this implies 7-14 Kg of plutonium was removed. This fuel may have been reprocessed, and would supply sufficient plutonium for 1 or possibly 2 bombs.

The economy of North Korea had begun collapsing in the early 1990s following the cut off of Soviet and Chinese aid. In the spring of 1994, elderly and ailing Great Leader Kim Il Sung revised long standing policy and signaled increasing accommodation with the West. As a result of a diplomatic mission by Jimmy Carter, Kim agreed to compromise on the North Korean nuclear program. Kim died soon after this meeting, but North Korea generally continues to adhere to his policies.

In the fall of 1994 North Korea agreed to suspend its nuclear program in exchange for a $4.5 billion assistance program to build two safeguarded light water power reactors (1000 Mwe each), after complex negotiations with the US. Most of the funding would be supplied by Japan, the reactors themselves would be built by South Korea. This agreement required that all reactor and reprocessing plant work be halted, that all irradiated fuel remain under safeguards, and that North Korea's domestic reactors eventually be dismantled. The situation remained tense over the next several months with North Korea refusing to implement this agreement, and Dear Leader Kim Jong Il making ambivalent statements. It did not resume its nuclear activities however, and as the economic situation grew increasingly desperate agreed to allow foreign rice in to the country to relieve famine. On 13 June 1995, North Korea officially endorsed the nuclear pact with the US.


For many years, there has been a lack of understanding of the origination of North Korean strategic ballistic missile program. Equally absent from public the discussion about Missile Technology Control Regime is the assistance that Iran has provided to the North Koran strategic ballistic missile program and North Korea's contribution to Iran's strategic ballistic missile program. Understanding the historical context of the relationship between Iran and North Korea will enhance the understanding of this potential strategic threat to the world. Understanding the impact of the Gorbachev era Soviet missile technology transfer to North Korea because of strategic arms reductions and it meaning to the Missile Technology Control regime (MTCR) and its impact globally can not be understated. This understanding is essential because of its implications in strategic arms control. In order to understand the true strategic threat requires a reasonable technical understanding of strategic systems and their historical and technical heritage. What follows is a discussion of what can be gleamed from the public intelligence on these various strategic issues.

Missile Designation- Cross Country Comparison








Ghauri II















Iranian/North Korean Ballistic Missile Data








Range km













Diam. m







Height m







L. W. kg







Thrust Kg f







Burn time sec.







Thrust Chamb.





1, 1, 1

4, 1, 1






2, 3

2, 3









AK-20 I






Third Stage


Solid Motor

Solid Motor








Range Identification and System Performance



Range (km)


Body Diameter (m)











Scud-B, derivative/Hwasong-5





Scud-C, Hwasong-6





No-dong, Shehab-3, Ghauri II





SS-4, Shehab-4





Taep'o-dong-1, Shehab-4?



MRBM (1)


NKSL-1, Shehab-4/Kosar?


2,200-2,672, 2,896 (8)

M/IRBM, orbital


CSS-2/DF-3, 3A



IRBM (4)


Taep'o-dong-2, Shehab-5?





NKSL-X-2, Shehab-6


4,000-4,300 (2)

LRICBM, orbital







SS-5, Shehab-5? (9)

1, 2/3






5,471-5,500, 5,632-6,200

LRICBM (5)(8)



Taep'o-dong-2 (6)


















SRBM- Short Range Ballistic Missiles (0 - 1,000 km)
MRBM- Medium Range Ballistic Missile (1,000 - 2,500 km)
IRBM- Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (2,500 - 3,500 km)
LRICBM- Limited Range Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (3,500 - 8,000 km)
FRICBM- Full Range Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (8,000 - 12,000 km)
(1) Similar performance to SS-4.
(2) Similar performance to SS-5.
(3) Performance exceeds SS-5.
(4) Performance considerable less than the SS-5.
(5) The suggested range performance for this system seems to far exceeds what is technically feasible.
(6) The suggested range performance for this system seems to far exceeds what is technically feasible.
(7) None of the above listed strategic system achieve the FRICBM capability. They fall far short of that kind of performance. Those strategic systems are based on MRBM & IRBM technology. In order to achieve FRICBM capability, clustering these systems would be required (in a method similar to that used by the Soviets on the R-7/SS-6 ICBM) or an entirely new system design would have to be developed. Clustering these systems very difficult or impossible because of their design characteristics. As of this writing, there is no indication that such new long term development exists, but this does not mean that it will not appear in the future. Only the United States, Russia and China have missiles with this range capability.
(8) Many of the suggested ranges for this yet-to-fly missile systems is based on mathematical models relying on little, public data. Typically, these studies put out by the intelligence community over-estimate the performance of the actual missile systems. These studies do, however, give a range of possibilities as to what to look for once they are flown.
(9) Almost certainly not the same strategic system.
(?) These may or may not be one the same missiles


Designation Stages Propellant Range IOC Inventory Comment

Scud-B 1 liquid 300 km 1981

Hwasong-5 1 liquid 330 km 1984 Scud-B derivative Hwasong-6 1 liquid 500 km 1989 Scud-C

No-dong-1, 2 1 liquid 1,300 km 1999 ~ 10

Taep’o-dong-1 2 liquid 1500 - 2200 km 2000 0

Taep’o-dong-2 2 liquid 3750 - 6000 km 2003 0

NKSL-1* 3 liquid + solid orbital 1998 ILC 0

NKSL-X-2** 3 liquid + solid orbital 1999 ILC? 0

Characteristics of North Korea Nuclear Weapons:


Hwasong 5 / Scud-B - The Pyongyang government received Frog-7s and 60-km range Frog-5 tactical rockets from the Soviet Union in 1969. When the Soviets furnished the North with rockets, they also provided high-explosive shell warheads, but North Korea developed chemical projectile warheads for the Frog-5 and Frog-7A. Reportedly, Scud-B missiles were received from Egypt in mid-1976, in return for North Korean assistance to Egypt in the Yom Kippur War. North Korea is now thought to be producing Scuds indigenously and to have exported their own version to Iran during the Gulf War. North Korea provided some assistance to Egypt in establishing indigenous production of a Scud clone. Chemical and bacteriological missile warhead development is also being pursued in the Scud-B missile [production] program. The DPRK arsenal is believed to have at least 12-15 Scud launchers.


Hwasong 5 / Scud-B Hwasong 5 / Scud-B


Hwasong 5 / Scud-B - A program to modify the Scud-B (300 km/1,000 kg) is reported to have begun in 1988. The modified missile, referred to as the Scud-PIP (product improvement program), or Scud-C (500 km/700-800 kg), which achieved a longer range than its predecessors by reducing the payload and extending the length of the rocket body to increase the propellant by 25%. The first of three successful test firings of the SCUD-C was reported to have been completed in June 1990. Production of the Scud-C is estimated at four to eight per month. Pyongyang has hundreds of SCUDs in its inventory and available for use by its missile forces. In 1990, Iran is reported to have arranged for delivery of Scud-Cs, as well as North Korean assistance in setting up an assembly and manufacturing facility. Syria may also have received shipments of the Scud-C along with launchers, beginning in April 1991.


A more extensive redesign of the Scud technology may have begun in the same 1988 time-frame as the modification program that resulted in the Scud-C. The new missile [variously called No-dong-1, Ro-dong 1, and Scud-D has a potential range/payload capacity of 1,000-1,300 km/700-1,000 kg. The higher range would cover a wide swath of cities from Tokyo to Taipei. At the extremity of the higher range, authoritative analyst estimates the CEP of the No-dong to be 2,000-4,000 m.

A prototype was detected on a launch pad in May 1990. Test flights did not begin until May 1993, with an apparently successful launch 500 km into the Sea of Japan. This flight test of the No-dong-1 was almost certainly a high altitude flight with warhead separation being demonstrated. All within the 500 kilometer SCUD-C/D range profile. That is, the No-dong-1 rose to a much higher altitude with in a 500 kilometer range. Propulsion tests began in August 1994. To date the flight test program has consisted of this single North Korean test to partial range, along with what are apparently a two tests by Pakistan and one or two by Iran.





The No-dong program has evidently been plagued by numerous technical and financial problems. Some authoritative observers expected the first production models of the No-dong to be available in 1997, with export shipments soon thereafter. However, the CIA did not expect the No-dong to be deployed until the end of 1996.

The operational status of the No-dong design remains unclear. Operational training for crews may have begun in mid-1995. Missile storage facility construction began in July 1995, and ast many as four launch sites were reportedly complete by October 1995. Mobile launchers were reportedly deployed in northeast North Korea in March 1997, and seven launchers were also deployed at a facility about 100 kilometers from Pyongyang.


The 1998 Rumsfeld report concluded that the "Commission judges that the No-dong was operationally deployed long before the U.S. Government recognized that fact. There is ample evidence that North Korea has created a sizable missile production infrastructure, and therefore it is highly likely that considerable numbers of No-dong's have been produced." One of the unclassified discussion papers generated in the preparation of the Rumsfeld report indicated that only a small number of the systems (ten mobile launchers with missiles) have been produced by North Korea and fielded with its own forces ["Iran and Iraq" Michael Eisenstadt, Kenneth Katzman, Kenneth Timmerman and Seth Carus - March 23, 1998]. According to an ROK military source, the DPRK had deployed at least nine No-Dong 1 missiles by early 1999, in addition to the Scud-A, Scud-B, and Scud-C missiles.





Warhead type

HE, CHEM (thickened VX)

Range (km)



2 km
?50m (w/GPS guidance)

Reaction time (min)


Maximum road speed

70 km/h

Maximum road range

550 km


Design Heritage

The No-dong represent a significant departure from the prior North Korean practice of incremental improvements on the basic single-engine Scud design, and this departure is reflected in the protracted development history of the system, This single-stage missile apparently incorporates a SS-N-4, Isayev S-2.713M engine with a single large combustion chamber. The closely related Iranian Shehab-3 and the Pakistani Ghauri-II do reflect this design.

Some aspects of the No-dong seems to bear a close design resemblance to the early Soviet SS-N-4/R-13 and SS-N-5/R-21 SLBM designs. This would not be to surprising, given that these early submarine-launched ballistic missiles were an evolutionary development of the same Scud technology that is used by North Korea.

The Soviet R-13, known in the West as the SS-N-4, used one Isayev S2.713 engine with larger 1.3 m diameter tankage from the Scud 0.88 m diameter tankage design and warhead separation from the missile body. This missile had a launch weight of 13,745 kg, a range of 600 km and a body diameter of 1.3 meters. And the R-21, designated the SS-N-5 used the 4 thrust chamber Isayev S-5.38 higher thrust engine and more tankage with perhaps a material change and rearranged propellant tanks along with warhead separation. With a body diameter of 1.4 m, this missile had a launch mass of nearly 19,653 kg. with a range of 1,420 km.

The No-dong has a reported mass of 15,200-16,000 kilograms, with a diameter of 1.3 m and a length of 17 m giving it a range of 1,300 km. The characteristics of the No-dong missile with its 15,200-16,000 kg launch weight (with a 700-1000 kg warhead) falls right in between the two older Soviet SLBM's design. While this may simply reflect the unavoidable consequence of using this proven Scud design approach to achieve a long range missile, other evidence suggest that a more direct connection may exist.

In October 1992, the Russian, Security Minister stopped more than 60 Russian missile specialists at Moscow's Sheremetyevo-2 airport where they were preparing to leave for North Korea, and subsequently a North Korean Major General was declared persona-non grata by the Yeltsin government. It turned out that these technical personnel were from the V.P. Makayev OKB, the submarine ballistic missile design bureau. It is difficult to assess the full extent of collaboration and technology transfer between the Makayev bureau and North Korea during this Gorbachev era, although such a large, senior delegation almost certainly meant that an earlier contact had already been substantially completed with certain critical documentation exchanged as a part of an agreement.

The SS-N-4 and SS-N-5 have been on public display at the Russian Central Army Museum since at least 1992. The existence of these missile demonstrates that this is a potential fruitful line of development to extend the range of Scud-derived systems. It certainly represents a proven design concept, in contrast to the less sophisticated Iraqi approach of simply clustering multiple Scuds to achieve longer range. But the apparent slow and uneven progress on the No-dong program since 1992 may not be entirely unrelated to the cessation of active assistance from Russian sources.

Soviet Design Path of Their First SLBM's



Modified Scud-A, B with one Isayev engine, SS-N-0, 1959

Launch Weight

5,440-5,500 kg


150 km

Body Diameter

0.885 m


10.344 m


TG-02, mixed Amine 50% triethylamine, 50% xylidine/T-1 Kerosene


AK-20I=(AK-20K) = IRFNA(80% I-HNO3) +20% N2O4


8,300 kg f

Burn time

92 sec.


The R-13/SS-N-4 used one Isayev engines S2.713 with larger tankage from the Scud design and warhead separation from the missile body. The propellant tanks were rearranged. This was done for center of gravity control of the launch vehicle. This duel drain points were also used in the R-13/SS-N-4 tankage arrangement to assist that center of gravity control according to Makayev OKB historic documents. Deployed 1960.


1,600 kg

Launch weight

13,600 kg


560 km

Body diam.

1.3 m


11.83 m


Storable Tonka-250 UDMH derivation


AK-27I = 27% N204 + 73% HNO3 with iodium as the inhibitor =IRFNA


25,720 kg f


216 sec. sea level, 235 sec vacuum


The R-21/SS-N-5 used four Scud type thrust chambers to create an advanced higher thrust Isayev engine S5.38 and more tankage was added with a possible material change as well as warhead separation. Deployed 1963.


1,200 kg

Launch weight

19,653 -19,700 kg


1,420 km

Body diam.

1.3 m


14.2 m


Amine mixture


IRFNA possibly AK-27P 27% N2O4 73% HNO3 with a different inhibitor


33,600 kg f


248 sec sea level, 268 sec vacuum


While there is little doubt that the No-dong is of North Korean design and manufacture, it certainly seems to have benefitted from some aspects of the Makayev SLBM program experience and design details. The source of this missile technology transfer is the cancellation of the Soviet liquid fueled SLBM programs in the early 1980's. By the mid 1980's the liquid SLBM's program personnel were reduced to caretaker status for deployed existing hardware. Effectively the cancellation of the programs resulted in the unemployment for a large group of highly trained rocket personnel. In an effort to re-employ their personnel, Glavkosmos of the Ministry of General Machine building tried to market these SLBM's commercially as satellite launchers. The effort failed. The formal technology exchange between the Russians and the North Koreans probably started in 1988, well before the 1991 collapse of the USSR. How much technology and materials expertise was transferred, if any remains unclear. But the slow pace of this program suggest that some combination of technical and resource constraints have sorely challenged the North Korean missile program.

How did the North Koreans develop No-dong?


copy the technology with steel tankage


Used one improved Isayev higher Isp engine.


like Iraq more fuel with its lengthened tankage and improved Isayev engine.


Used one engine with a single thrust chamber and four times the scud tankage and warhead separation. SS-N-4/5 like approach.


Probable redesign for Alumium Magnesiun airframe body via the Chinese and Russian experience previously observed. SS-N-4/5 like approach. All of these programs benefitted from North Korean engineers, technicians, and scientist cooperating on the PRC, Chinese canceled DF-61 program of the mid 1970's.


Used the No-dong-2 with a Scud-B/C placed on top. Chinese/Russian brains


Used all new first stage based on CSS-2/SS-5 design approach and an all new four thrust chambered first stage engine based on the No-dong single thrust chambers and a new turbo-pump machinery and a No Dong-2 as its second stage. Certainly the Chinese design approach to the LRICBM known as CSS-3 influenced the Taepo-Dong-2's first stage design. See accompanying drawings etc.

Taep'o-dong 1 (TD-1)

North Korea has successfully developed a missile variously designated the Taep'o-dong-1 (TD-1), No-dong-2, Ro-dong-2, NKSL-1*, Scud Mod-E, and Scud-X. The first designation, which is accepted in the U.S. intelligence community, is what is used here. This missile configuration is a two-stage, and three stage variant of the No-dong. The first attempted launch of a satellite by North Korea using its Taep'o-dong-1/NKSL-1 revealed considerable detail about its performance. The TD-1 has two stages (with an estimated range of 2,000-2,200 km) or three stages (with a range of 2,200-2,672-2,896 km) and a warhead estimated at 700-1,000 kilograms. Taep'o-dong-1 has a comparable performance to the Soviet SS-4. This vehicle's first stage consists of a modified No-dong and a second stage based on the North Korean Scud-B/C missile with a potential small, solid motor, third stage. This small ellipsoidal shaped solid motor was used in North Korea's first attempted satellite launch and failed. The first attempted flight of the Taep'o-dong-1 as a satellite launcher was on August 31, 1998. This three stage variant NKSL-1* satellite launcher is actually less capable in performance than the French Diamond-A satellite launcher.

The next flight of the Taep'o-dong-1/NKSL-1 derivative launch vehicle may be launched from Iran as the Shehab-4/Kosar satellite launcher. From February through April 1999 static test firings of the Shehab-4 boosters engines were to have taken place. Like the introduction of the No-dong with one flight test by North Korea, it was subsequently flight tested both in Iran as the Shehab-3, and the flight tests of the Ghauri-II of Pakistan. Both are officially recognized by the DoD as No-dong missile system copies. This same testing procedure will probably manifest itself once again in Iran for the Shehab-4. Iran will flight test after the one North Korea test already conducted. Presumably North Korea may be unwilling to fly their Taep'o-dong-2 booster until this flight test of the Iranian Shehab-4 takes place to see if it resolves the problems encountered by North Korea's Taep'o-dong-1/NKSL-1 first flight.




(Taep'o-dong-1 with third stage plus satellite added)

Taep'o-dong Launch Point

40 degrees - 8 min North, 129 degrees 7 min East



~50-100 kg


Attempted Orbit

218.82 km X 6,978.2 km


Attempted Orbital period

165 min. 5 sec.


Approximate inclination

~41 degrees (40.8 degrees?)



~26 m Satellite launch vehicle, 25 m two stages


Launch weight total

~21,500 - 22,000 kg





Lift off G's acceleration

~1.2 g's


Burn time to orbit

293 sec.


Stage-1 (No-dong)


~14 m with inter-stage truss structure



1.3 m


Launch weight

~14,500 kg


Launch Thrust

25,720-26,000 kg f. sea level, solid charge starter



216 sec sea level, 235 sec. vacuum


Burn time to staging

95 sec.



Heptyl (UDMH)



IRFNA (Inhibited Red Fuming Nitric Acid)


1st Stage shutdown altitude

35.9 km


1st Stage down range distance

19.5 km


1st Stage down range impact

253 km (180 km or more by OH radar)


1st Stage impact point

40 degrees 51 min North, 132 degrees 40 min East


Payload Shroud Separation

144 sec. in flight, 49 seconds after staging


Shroud down range impact

(1,100 km or more by radar estimation)


Stage-2 (Scud-B/C)


~10 m to third stage interface



0.88 m


Launch weight

~5,260-5,770 kg


Launch Thrust Altitude

~14,800-15,900 kg f vac.(1) Fire in the hole ignition engine start


Burn time to staging

~171 sec.(165-170 sec. actual burn time)



TM-185 or Tonka-250



AK-27 I or AK-27 P


2nd Stage shutdown altitude

204 km (radar estimates 200-300 km with one estimate at 400 km)


2nd Stage down range distance

450.5 km


2nd Stage down range impact

1,646 km (radar estimates in excess of 1,550-1,600 km or more)


2nd Stage impact point

40 degrees 13 min. North,149 degrees 07 min. East


Stage-3 Solid Motor


~1 or 2 m plus for shroud encapsulation



~0.65 m


Shroud diameter

> 0.88 m ~0.95 m


Launch weight

~550-1,000 kg total package shroud, satellite, and solid motor


Launch Thrust Altitude

Burn time to staging- 25 sec. observed (27 sec. to orbit after separation from second stage) burn de-orbited the satellite and solid motor or apparently something exploded in the process. Immediately after staging from the second stage the solid motor third stage must utilize a series of small solid motors to spin up the third stage and satellite combination and also properly align itself for the orbit insertion firing while rotating about its center of gravity. There may also have been a small solid motor inside of the base of the satellite. The satellite is said to have been observed in space for 25 seconds after separation from the third stage if that is the correct interpretation of the events but clearly one or any number of these required processes went wrong catastrophically de-orbiting the third stage and satellite. The third stage firing was clearly observed. What actually went wrong is unclear from the available public information. There were parts of a debris field that did fly further down range and reenter.



Solid propellant


3rd Stage shutdown altitude

239.3 km


3rd Stage down range distance

587.9 km


Orbital Injection Velocity

~8,690-8,980 m/sec. (7,800 m/sec. observed estimate?)


3rd Stage down range impact

~variously estimate between 2,000-2,200-2,672-2,896 km? These are mathematical modeling estimates for 50-100-700 kilogram payload or less. As the weapon payload mass within the nose cone air frame becomes smaller the warhead depending on a number of highly technical issues can become quite unstable during reentry above certain velocities. The nose cone airframe mass does exact a fixed payload penalty from the total payload mass available for the weapons payload mass.


3rd Stage impact point



Satellite Kwangmyongsong-1 payload estimated data

The satellites structural design is a sub scale mathematical model version of the Chinese China-1 satellite which is apparently readily available in the public realm.



0.5-0.6 m



0.5-0.6 m



50-60 kg



27 Mhz.


  1. Engine boat tail uses flared skirt to accommodate high altitude larger exit diameter nozzle. Thrust altitude increased from original sea level thrust of 13,380 kg f. 2. ~ - approximate estimation

Taep'o-dong 2 (TD-2)

The Taep'o-dong-2 (TD-2) is said to be a two or three stage missile with a range estimated at approximately 3,650-3,750 km with a 700-1,000 kg payload. Other sources credit the TD-2/NKSL-X-2** with a range in excess of 4,000-4,300 km. North Korea has given various names to the Taep'o-dong missile, such as No-dong-3, Hwasong (Mars)-2 and Moksong (Jupiter)-2.

According to Kim Kil Son, who prior to defection to south Korea in August 1997 worked in a publications department of north Korea’s Number 2 Research Center, development of this missile started in 1987 after Kim Jong Il gave on the spot guidance to the Number 2 Research Center saying that "If we can develop this we have nothing to fear. Even the American Bastards won’t be able to bother us. Whether we live or die, we must quickly develop the HwaSong 6."

As of late 1999, no flight test of this missile had been reported although these missiles have been observed on display in North Korea. (As with many other such activities in North Korea, apparently much of the work on North Korea missiles is done underground.) This is also reportedly the case in Iran.

A liquid fuel engine test was detected at the Taep'o-dong rocket test stand in February 1994. Whether this engine was for the No-dong or Taep'o-dong-1 or the Taep'o-dong-2 is unclear. This seems premature to have been a test firing for the Taep'o-dong-2 first stage booster and it is therefore assumed to be associated with the Taep'o-dong-1 booster test. That would essentially have been a No-dong test firing which is the first stage of the TD-1. All of these North Korean engines are using highly corrosive and highly toxic so called storable propellants. These engines can only undergo one test firing before they have to be torn down cleaned out and reassembled for further firings, installation on launch vehicles for a flight test, or missile deployment. This is what is done with Titan-4 core stages liquid fuel engines. So in a sense they are always single first time firing engines never tested before flight. It either works or it does not. In all probability the test firings of the TD-2 first stage engines have only taken place in the last two or three years. They may have first been conducted in Iran but that is uncertain. Published reports that multi-stage missiles have been seen stacked and unstacked in Iran fail to clarify whether the missile in question was the TD-1 or the much larger TD-2.




A declassified CIA report to the Congress estimated that North Korea would require 10-15 years to develop an ICBM capable of delivering a chemical, biological, or nuclear warhead. However, 1998 Rumsfeld report concluded that "There is evidence that North Korea is working hard on the Taepo Dong 2 (TD-2) ballistic missile. The status of the system's development cannot be determined precisely. Nevertheless, the ballistic missile test infrastructure in North Korea is well developed. Once the system is assessed to be ready, a test flight could be conducted within six months of a decision to do so. If North Korea judged the test to be a success, the TD-2 could be deployed rapidly. It is unlikely the U.S. would know of such a decision much before the missile was launched. This missile could reach major cities and military bases in Alaska and the smaller, westernmost islands in the Hawaiian chain. Light-weight variations of the TD-2 could fly as far as 10,000 km, placing at risk western U.S. territory in an arc extending northwest from Phoenix, Arizona, to Madison, Wisconsin. These variants of the TD-2 would require additional time to develop and would likely require an additional flight test."

The first stage of the TD-2 is said to bear a close resemblance to the Chinese CSS-2's and CSS-3's first stage, but is slightly smaller. Other reports suggest that the first stage of the Taep'o-dong-2 is almost identical to the Chinese CSS-2. The diameter of the TD-2's and the NKSL-X-2's** first stage are apparently closer to 2.2 meters verses the 2.25 m diameter of the Chinese CSS-2 and the Russian SS-5 with its body diameter of 2.4 m. The TD-2/NKSL-X-2** is also shorter in length. This indicates that the TD-2/NKSL-X-2** first stage will have inferior performance compared to the Russian SS-5 and the Chinese CSS-2/DF-3, 3A and CSS-3/DF-4. Circumstantial evidence strongly suggest that the TD-2/NKSL-X-2** first stage engine probably uses four No-dong thrust chambers with a new turbo-pump machinery to create a new first stage multiple thrust chamber open cycle engine. This turbo-pump machinery was probably developed jointly by Iran and North Korea with perhaps some help from China under technology-sharing arrangements that evolved in the mid-1990's.


It is generally believed that the second stage of the TD-2 is based on the No-dong missile. A widely circulated illustration from Jane's of the TD-2 and other new North Korean missiles depict a TD-2 first stage that is significantly shorter than that of either the CSS-2 or the CSS-3. This may merely be a consequence of the low fidelity of these notional cartoons [the ND-1 is depicted as having the same diameter as that of the Scud, which is not the case]. However, this may also reflect the limited available information concerning the TD-2 at that time. The wide range of estimates of the range of this missile may be a consequence of the vehicles actual length and thus fuel capacity.

Taepo-dong-2 reflects the least optimized upper stage design which will limit its range performance to below that of the Chinese advanced LRICBM CSS-3A/DF-4 of 4,500-4,750 km. TD-2's range capability is closer to 3,750 km with two stages but three stages could raise that performance to 4,000-4,300 km. The Taep'o-dong-2 is not the most optimized launch vehicle design in its performance possibilities because of its aspect ratio's that is the length to diameter ratio creating potential in flight structural problems. North Korea has probable had considerable troubles with adapting the structurally heavy No-dong second stage to their new Taep'o-dong-2 first stage. It reflects on poor engineering design decisions both in its structural design and imposed performance penalties verses the PRC Chinese DF-4/CSS-3 design as is self evident from the range performance data shown in Chart-II. It is also emphasized in their design differences shown in the accompanying illustrations Thus its performance due to structural requirements will suffer accordingly. Whether Iran has adapted the North Korean Taep'o-dong -2 design for its Shehab - 5 and Shehab - 6 is unclear at this time. It is strongly suspected that the Iranian will utilize the Taepo-dong-1 type design for its Shehab-4/Kosar? satellite launch vehicle design that could also be deployed as an Iranian derivation of the Taep'o-dong-1 strategic ballistic missile with performance similar to that of the SS-4. Yet this also remains unclear. Indeed Iran has suggested that its Shehab-4 will be the last rocket it will develop even though there are suggested evidence to the contrary.

North Korean Ballistic Missile Data







Range km














Dam. m







Hight m







L. W. kg







Trust Kg f







Burn time sec.







Thrust Chamb.





1, 1, 1

4, 1, 1






2, 3

2, 3









AK-20 I






Third Stage





Solid Motor

Solid Motor









Without declaring itself officially as a nuclear power Pakistan has gone to great pains to make clear its nuclear capabilities. On 7 February 1992 Pakistani Foreign Minister Shahryar Khan stated in an interview with the Washington Post that Pakistan had the components to assemble one or more nuclear weapons. This statement went further than any made by other "non-weapon state" in admitting to the existence of a nuclear arsenal. Pakistan had previously admitted to having fabricated pits for fission weapons. In July 1993 General (retired) Mirza Aslam Beg, former army chief of staff, claimed that Pakistan had conducted a 'cold' test of a nuclear device in 1987. A 'cold test' generally refers to a complete nuclear design but using non-fissile material (i.e. natural or depleted uranium) for the core. And in August 1994, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said "I confirm that Pakistan possesses the atomic bomb" although the government repudiated the statement (but admitted having the capability to make them).

The program began in great secrecy the 1972 under the leadership of PM Zulfiakar Ali Bhutto. This was immediately after Pakistan's fourth war with India (fought in December 1971), in which India had invaded East Pakistan and had dismembered the country to form Bangladesh. So too, international suspicions of India's interest in nuclear weapons had sharpened in the wake of its refusal to join the NPT. The Indian test of a nuclear device in 1974 further accelerated effort on the project. Serious large scale work commenced in 1976 with the establishment of the Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL).

The Pakistani program is based on an indigenously constructed centrifuge uranium enrichment plant, using technology misappropriated from the European uranium centrifuge consortium URENCO (Britain, Germany, and the Netherlands are the participants). The intelligence gathering at URENCO was apparently conducted by Dr. Abdul Qader Khan, a Pakistani metallurgist. He was employed from 1972 to 1975 by Ultra-Centrifuge Nederland (UCN) the Dutch partner in the URENCO consortium where he worked with two early centrifuge designs, the CNOR and SNOR machines. In 1974 UCN asked Khan to translate classified design documents for two advanced German machines, the G-1 and G-2. He left Europe before his espionage was detected and assumed technical leadership of the program at ERL. Due to his efforts, the slow recognition of the program by western intelligence, and the weak export controls at the time, Pakistan made relatively rapid progress in developing U-235 production capability. In 1981, in recognition of Khan's contributions the ERL was renamed the A.Q. Khan Research Laboratories by Pres. Zia ul-Haq (who had seized control of Pakistan in a 1977 coup). He was convicted of espionage in the Netherlands in 1983 in absentia and sentenced to four years in prison. The conviction was later overturned in 1985 for failure to properly deliver a summons to him.

Although A.Q. Khan and his centrifuge designs formed the basis of the program, the development of nuclear weapons by Pakistan - one of the poorest countries on Earth - could not have occurred without the massive transfer of technology and materiel from more advanced countries. During the late 70s and early 80s, a number of Pakistani agents were arrested trying to violate export control laws in the west. In 1984 three Pakistani nationals were indicted in the US for attempting to smuggle out 50 krytrons (high speed switches suitable for implosion detonation systems), and in 1987 the purchase of US maraging steel was attempted.

These interceptions were more the exception than the rule however. It was ul-Haq's great good fortune that the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on 27 December 1979, and Ronald Reagan was elected President scarcely more than 10 months later. This converted Pakistan into an inestimable strategic asset and opened floodgates of military and other aid from the US. At the same time Pakistan was an essential ally for China, who was just as concerned by the Afghanistan invasion (with which China shares a border) as the US, and in addition wanted a counterweight to India on China's southern border (and with which China had fought a war only 17 years before).

As a result Pakistan found itself able to acquire whatever technology it needed with little scrutiny. In fact China actively provided equipment, technology, information, and advice in the sure knowledge that it was for the development of nuclear weapons. Among this information in fact was an actual design of a tested weapon. Khan's knowledge of western centrifuge design no doubt flowed back to China in return.

Other countries, such as France and especially Germany also sold "dual use" material in large quantities. For example Germany even transferred a uranium hexafluoride manufacturing plant.

Though masterminded by A.Q. Khan, the program was largely managed by government minister Ghulam Ishaq Khan. In 1980 a number of experimental centrifuges were believed to be operating in Pakistan. By the late 1980s Pakistan was publishing technical articles about centrifuge design, flaunting their capability and placing design details, previously secret, in the public domain. This includes an 1987 article co-authored by A. Q. Khan on balancing sophisticated ultracentrifuge rotors.

The uranium enrichment facility is the Kahuta gas centrifuge plant near Islamabad. This facility began operating in the early 1980s, but suffered serious start up problems. It is believed that China offered significant technical assistance in exchange for URENCO technology, but the exact form of assistance is unknown. Dr. Khan announced that Kahuta was producing low enriched uranium in 1984. US intelligence believes that uranium enrichment exceeded 5% in 1985, and that production of highly enriched uranium was achieved in 1986. Pakistan probably acquired the ability to build a nuclear weapon at that time, or very soon after. Pakistan had by then reportedly manufactured 14,000 centrifuges, but had only 1000 operating. By 1991 about 3000 machines were operating according to US intelligence. This implies a production capacity of 30-50 kg U-235/year depending on the separative capacity of the machines, the tails concentration, and production efficiency. This is enough for 2-3 implosion weapons a year. Shahryar Khan has said that the cost of Kahuta was relatively modest, less than $150 million.

Pakistan has operated its plant intermittently. PM Benazir Bhutto halted production of highly enriched uranium in June 1989 prior to a trip the US. Production was resumed in early 1990 and continued until sometime in 1991. This coincided with a sharp escalation in tension between India and Pakistan over violence in Kashmir, an area occupied by India but claimed by Pakistan. Border clashes with India occurred and the outbreak of a fifth Indo-Pakistani war seemed possible.

According to Burrows and Windrem in Critical Mass, Pakistan did not convert the highly enriched uranium hexafluoride into metal form until May 1990, during the Kashmir crisis. Burrows and Windrem report that 125 kg of HEU metal was produced and fashioned into 7 bomb cores, some may even have been assembled into weapons. US intelligence detected what appeared to be a nuclear alert. This was apparently done without PM Bhutto's knowledge at the behest of Ghulam Ishaq Khan, at that time President of Pakistan. Burrows and Windrem attribute the August "judicial coup" that deposed Bhutto from office to attempts by Bhutto to reign in the nuclear program.

The shutdown in HEU production in 1991 was probably motivated by a cutoff of US aid. With the Afghanistan War and the Cold War now over, there was nothing inhibiting the US from pressuring Pakistan to abandon its nuclear program. The Pressler Amendment, passed in 1984, which required an aid cutoff if Pakistan acquired nuclear arms finally went into action. Nonetheless a large package of arms, ordered and paid for by Pakistan, was never delivered.

SIPRI estimates that Pakistan had acquired 157-263 Kg of enriched uranium by the end of 1991 (enough for 10-18 weapons). Production of low enriched uranium has continued. The intended purpose of this low enriched uranium is not known, but by now amounts to many tonnes of material. By using this stockpile of partially enriched material as feedstock, Pakistan has the ability to produce fissile material for 20-30 additional bombs in a matter of months.

Pakistan has built a second enrichment plant at Golra, 10 km west of Islamabad. It is expected to be even larger than Kahuta, with more advanced centrifuges. It may not yet have begun production though due to difficulty in obtaining the necessary parts now. In March 1996 the New York Times reported that last year China had sold Pakistan 5000 samarium-cobalt ring magnets suitable for use in the top suspension of gas centrifuges.

The Kahuta plant will probably be renovated soon as the current centrifuges reach the end of their operating lives. Improvements in centrifuge design could lead to a production capacity of 50-75 kg/yr of HEU (3-5 weapons) or even more.

Pakistan is developing weapons-related nuclear technology in other areas as well. It has a pilot plutonium reprocessing plant called "New Labs" at the Pinstech complex near Rawalpindi. It attempted to purchase a complete plutonium separation facility from France, which pulled out of the project part way through. Work has continued in secrecy at the site near Chasma indicating Pakistan is attempting to finish the plant on its own.

Most of Pakistan's known reactors are safeguarded by the IAEA, and thus unavailable for use in a weapons program. Pakistan is known to have been developing a "swimming pool" reactor in the late 80s using domestically produced enriched uranium fuel, which may already be in operation. Pakistan is also manufacturing reactor-grade graphite, presumably for a natural uranium plutonium production reactor. It currently possesses one power reactor with an output of 137 MW electrical (MWe). A 300 MWe pressurized water reactor for electricity which is under construction by the China National Nuclear Corporation at Chashma.

A "multi purpose" natural uranium/heavy-water reactor, entirely constructed by Pakistani engineers, has been recently (circa 1996) completed near Khushab, in Punjab. Its power level has been variously reported ranging from 40 to 70 MW thermal. It is said to be used for isotope production for export and for doping silica for use in solar energy applications, but his has been dismissed as "inaccurate and baseless" by Pakistani sources. Its type and size (about the same size as the Dimona reactor in Israel) as well as the secrecy surrounding it indicates that its likely use is for the production of plutonium (enough for 3-5 bombs a year). This reactor has not been placed under IAEA safeguards.

Prior to the start-up of its indigenous reactor(s) Pakistan could not have produced Po-210 or tritium, required for neutron initiators, since this would require illegal use of its IAEA safeguarded reactors. It could of course have acquired this material from China. It is known to have smuggled 0.8 g of tritium gas from Germany in 1987. This would allow the manufacture of several tritium initiators. During the trial of Rudolf Ortmayer 1n 1990, the source of much of the recent data on Pakistan's nuclear program, it was revealed that Pakistan was acquiring technology for tritium production. It is likely that they are pursuing fusion boosting designs for their weapons.

They are believed to possess proven implosion weapon designs. Reportedly Pakistan received from China the design used in its fourth tested weapon, exploded in 1966. This is said to be a low weight (200 kg class) solid-core bomb design intended for missile deployment. Pakistan is known to have conducted a large number of explosive tests related to it nuclear weapons program. Undoubtedly a tested implosion system has been developed, and cold implosion testing (i.e. without nuclear yield) using uranium cores has been reported. Zero-yield testing using enriched uranium (with a small nuclear yield equal to several Kg) is also possible, but the possession of a tested design eliminates any need to conduct nuclear tests.

Pakistan has missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Currently the HATF 2 (500 kg payload) and the M-11/DF-11 (800 kg payload) are in service - both with ranges of 300 km. The M-11 was acquired from China, about 25 are believed to be in service. The HATF-3 is under development with a range of 600 km and a payload of 500 kg. On 13 June 1996 the Washington Post quoted a leaked CIA draft document as saying Pakistan had "probably finished developing nuclear warheads" for Chinese-supplied M-11 missiles. In December 1997 Pakistan claimed to have developed a new ballistic missile named Ghauri with a range of 1,500km. This missile is believed to be similar in design to North Korea's Nodong II.

Pakistan also possesses advanced fighter-bomber aircraft, including the F-16, capable of delivering nuclear weapons at ranges sufficient to reach most of India (including the capital New Delhi) without refueling.


7.4 States Formerly Possessing or Pursuing Nuclear Weapons

These are nations known to have initiated serious nuclear weapons programs, with varying degrees of success. All of them are now regarded as currently no longer actively developing, or possessing, nuclear arms.

7.4.1 Argentina
Argentina began a serious program to acquire nuclear weapons under military rule in 1978 when it was not a signatory to NPT. The centerpiece of this effort was a successful secret program to develop domestic gaseous diffusion technology. The existence of this technology, and the enrichment plant built at Pilcaniyeu in the Rio Negro province, were successfully concealed until it was revealed by the Alfonsin government, shortly after the restoration of civilian rule in 1983.

The plant was designed to produce up to 20% enrichment, and thus does not appear to have been intended by itself to produce weapons grade material. It should be remembered though that very little separative work is required to enrich 20% HEU to 90%+ enrichment, and the size of such a cascade is relatively small due to the smaller amounts of material being handled. The initial planned capacity was 20,000 SWU/yr (enough for 500 kg of 20% HEU), with longer term plans to expand to 100,000 SWU/yr. A portion of the cascade was completed in the mid-eighties, but the plant has never operated well due problems with short barrier life, leaking seals and compressor reliability. The cascade consists of 20 units with 20 stages each (400 stages total). During this period only produced small amounts of low enriched uranium were produced. In 1989 the cascade was shut down, and a new 20 stage pilot plant with improved technology was opened in December 1993. Renovation of the older plant, to be operated under safeguards, was subsequently undertaken but completion of the effort is in doubt. It is now planned to produce no more than 5% enriched uranium.

Argentina has some plutonium production capabilities. It operates the pressurized natural uranium heavy water reactor Atucha I. It began a plutonium separation pilot plant at Ezeiza, under the Galtieri military government in 1978. It was designed to produce 15 kg of plutonium a year, but was never completed. Construction halted on the plant in 1990.

Argentina operates 3 power reactors with a combined output of 1750 MW electrical (about 14% of total production capacity in 1994), and has plans for a large scale civilian reactor program over the next 20-30 years.

Historically Argentina has had rivalries with both Chile and Brazil. Skirmishes have been fought with Chile over territorial disputes, although Brazil has usually been viewed as the greater potential threat. Under civilian rule both Argentina and Brazil have opened up and demilitarized their nuclear programs, placing them under international inspection. In 1991 the parliaments of Argentina and Brazil ratified a bilateral inspection agreement that created the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC). In 1994 Argentina ratified the Treaty of Tlatelolco, and on 10 February 1995 Argentina signed the NPT.

7.4.2 Brazil
Brazil began a secret program to acquire nuclear weapons code-named "Solimoes" in 1978 under military rule. Although civilian government was restored in 1985, the military remains a powerful and largely autonomous force (unlike the discredited military of Argentina). Substantial military nuclear development has thus continued.

Brazil has a two track nuclear program, an open civilian program and a secret military program (which undoubtedly draws on the technology and expertise of the civilian component). The civilian program is under IAEA safeguards and is managed by the state-owned Brazilian Nuclear Corporation (Nuclebras). In 1989 Brazil had one power reactor with an output of 657 MW electrical, and was building or planning to build 4 more with a combined electrical output of 5236 MW.

Nuclebras began participating in uranium enrichment technology development with URENCO, and German companies developing nozzle separation techniques. Throughout most of the 1980s Brazil attempted to develop indigenous centrifuge technology, and announced in 1987 that it had succeeded in constructing a pilot facility at IPEN (Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research) located on the campus of Sao Paulo University. This experimental facility first produced slightly enrich ed uranium in September 1982, and opened a cascade of 9 machines in 1984.

A much larger plant, which is operated by the Navy, has since been constructed at the Aramar Research Center near Ipero in the state of Sao Paulo. It was inaugurated in 1988, and now operates under the name Isotopic Enrichment Facility or LEI. In the early 90s it was reported that it housed over 500 centrifuges made of maraging steel with a separation capacity of perhaps 900 SWU/yr. By 1997 there were 725 centrifuges operating with a capacity of 2200-3600 SWU/yr. New carbon fiber supercritical centrifuges with greatly enhanced performance are now being installed in a new cascade to be completed in 2000. When complete the 3000 cascade facility will have a capacity of 15,000-21,000 SWU/yr. Plans to expand Brazil's enrichment capacity to 100,000-200,000 SWU/yr have been repeatedly proposed. Brazil apparently possesses the capability of enriching uranium to weapon-grade levels but it is not known to have done so. Enrichments at least up to 10% have been announced, but most uranium is enriched to just 3%.

A laboratory scale plutonium separation plant was built at IPEN and operated until 1989, although it appears to have used simulated rather than real spent fuel. In September 1991 the Army revealed that it was designing a 40 MW natural uranium graphite reactor evidently for plutonium production. This has been scaled back to a 2 MW experimental reactor, but even this probably will not be built. Brazil has built a heavy water production plant.

In 1991 the parliaments of Argentina and Brazil ratified a bilateral inspection agreement that created the Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials (ABACC). In 1994 Brazil ratified the Treaty of Tlatelolco, but as of early 1997 had not signed the NPT.

7.4.3 Iraq
Iraq's status as a "former weapons developing state" is of course purely involuntary. The international inspections and pressure put on Iraq after its crushing defeat in Desert Storm have allowed much of its previous nuclear program to be revealed and dismantled. The discoveries made after the war surprised intelligence agencies and analysts around the world, and called into question how effective the monitoring of nuclear programs has been. Iraq has continued to conceal information and technology whenever possible. It has never released the sources of its illegally imported nuclear technology, and significant pieces of equipment are known to be missing. Presumably Iraq continues to pursue nuclear ambitions, but under the continuing UN import/export restrictions, its ability to pursue them are limited.

Iraqi equivalent of the Los Alamos laboratory was its nuclear development complex at Al Atheer, 40 km south of Baghdad. This facility and the adjacent Al Hateen high-explosive facility, was blown up under UN supervision on 14 April 1992. Documents show that it was the intended center for nuclear weapons development. This state-of-the-art research facility included a 15,000 m^2 uranium metallurgy plant, a HE test firing bunker, internal explosion test chambers, a tungsten carbide production facility (usable perhaps for a weapon tamper material), and large amounts of dual use test, measuring, and fabrication equipment.

The principal component of Iraq's nuclear program was a uranium enrichment program based on electromagnetic separation technology using calutrons. That this technology was being developed was unknown prior to the international inspections following Desert Storm, and was a major surprise.

Calutron technology was acquired and developed during the early to mid 1980s. Calutrons were built and operated at Tuwaitha and Tarmiya. A plan was underway to build a large enrichment facility at Tarmiya sufficient to produce 0.5 weapons a year, using natural uranium feed, but this program was progressing more slowly than planned. A captured 1987 report shows that Iraq had planned to install 70 alpha (first stage) calutrons, and 20 beta (final stage) calutrons during 8/89-12/92. Actually just 8 alpha machines had been installed during 2/90-9/90. This was about 10 months behind schedule. Iraq was preparing to install another 17 alpha machines in January 1991, a process that would have taken months, but the installation was halted by the initiation of hostilities. No beta machines were ready for installation although 4 were due to have been installed by 10/90.

According to the original plan, the calutrons would have begun operating as they were installed. Using natural uranium as the feedstock these would have produced the first 15 kg of 93% uranium, enough for one bomb, by the time the installation of the last machine was complete. Alternatively, if 2.5% low enriched uranium was used as feedstock, the first 15 kg would have been ready in 24 months. The annual production rate for the completed facility would have been 7 kg/yr using natural uranium feed. In fact, the installed calutrons had not yet begun operation. Given an approximate one year delay for the calutron production program, and assuming Iraq would have no further difficulties in reaching full production capability, Iraq could have produced 15 kg of weapon-grade uranium as early as the beginning of 1994. Using the 1763 kg of IAEA safeguarded 2.6% uranium that Iraq possessed, this could have been advanced by a year but would have almost certainly alerted the international community before the material was ready. In all likelihood though, these estimates are too optimistic. Iraq had operated calutrons on an experimental basis, and had no experience with a large scale production operation. Additional time would have been necessary to work out problems, and build up operating capacity. Recent reports indicate that Iraq regards the calutron program as a disappointing failure and is unlikely to pursue this technology further.

Centrifuge technology was also actively pursued. While unable to acquire centrifuge design Pakistan-style through intelligence activity, Iraq appears to have been able to purchase them on a clandestine "gray market". A German formerly employed by URENCO was hired to improve the purchased design.

Iraq is now known to possess both centrifuge designs and significant centrifuge technology. Information about Iraqi centrifuge designs and knowledge is due primarily to Bruno Stemmler, a German ex-employee of MAN Technologie of Munich, which is an important partner in URENCO. In 1988 he was recruited by Walter Busse, another German centrifuge expert, and in 1988 and 1989 he traveled to Iraq and provided technology and consultation services to the Iraqi centrifuge program (both were arrested in 1989 in Germany). While in Iraq he saw designs based on the German G-1 centrifuge which may have been obtained from Pakistan or Busse. Stemmler provided help in many areas of centrifuge design and manufacturing, including oil bearings, various aspects of rotor tube and baffle design, and oxidation treatment of steel rotors, although he denies providing classified information and has not been charged.

Centrifuge test stands were constructed and operated at Tuwaitha, Rashidiya, and Al Furat using maraging steel rotors. Poor quality rotors were manufactured at Factory 10, near Baghdad. A better plant was under construction at Al Furat, which also was planned to receive a 100 centrifuge pilot enrichment cascade. Iraq is believed to have imported 400 tonnes of maraging steel for rotor construction, although only 100 tonnes were located by inspectors. Iraq was found to have carbon fiber rotors, an even more advanced material. Later investigation showed that 20 carbon fiber rotors had been supplied to Iraq by the German company RO-SCH Verbundwerstoff GmbH. Several years of work would have been required before Iraq could have begun constructing centrifuges suitable for an enrichment program.

Plutonium separation technology was developed at Tuwaitha during the 1970s. This portion of the program was abandoned after the Israeli bombing of the Osiraq reactor in 1981. Iraq has declared that 5 g of plutonium was separated at Tuwaitha.

Iraq also investigated chemical enrichment technology to partially enrich uranium to serve as calutron feed. A combination of the French Chemex and the Japanese Ashi methods were expected to produce 6-8% enriched U-235.

In 1990 Iraqi agents were detected attempting to obtain krytrons in the US.

After the 8 August 1995 defection of Lt. Gen. Hussein Kamel Majid, son-in-law to Saddam Hussein, and former director of weapon procurement, Iraq revealed that during the Gulf conflict in 1990-91, it had initiated a crash development program to manufacture a single nuclear weapon using highly enriched uranium fuel intended for its internationally safeguarded Tammuz test reactor. The plan was to complete the atomic bomb during the spring of 1991. Unirradiated and low-irradiated fuel was actually unloaded and some fuel elements later turned over to UN inspectors show signs of tampering. Iraq had 12.3 kg or 93% U-235, and 33.1 kg of 80% U-235 available that was unirradiated or had low radiation levels and could have been easily processed. With the start of hostilities in January these plans were aborted.

Early in 1996, the former Lt. Gen. Majid returned to Iraq under a personal guarantee of safety from Saddam Hussein. He was murdered two days later.

7.4.4 South Africa
This is the only nation known to have developed nuclear weapons, and then voluntarily relinquished that capability. On 24 March 1993 Pres. F. W. De Klerk announced that South Africa had produced nuclear weapons, but had destroyed their arsenal before 10 July 1991, when South Africa joined the NPT. He subsequently released other details about the program.

The South African program began in the mid-1970s, after large scale intervention in central and southern Africa by the Cuban military began. The apparent motivation was as a hedge against Soviet-sponsored aggression. The strategy was to use these weapons as leverage with Western powers - demonstrating their existence, and then threatening to resort to nuclear attack if assistance was not provided. The decision to abandon its nuclear arsenal was motivated by the end of Cold War intervention, and the prospect of reintegrating with the world if and when Apartheid was abandoned. The decision to completely destroy weapons related technology and information may have been made in part to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands any future black-lead government.

South Africa developed a unique technology for enriching U-235 called UCOR during the 1960s based on aerodynamic forces produced by vortex tubes (this technology is not economically competitive with existing enrichment technologies). PM John Vorster ordered the construction of a UCOR enrichment plant in 1970. Research on weapons began in 1971, and in 1974 the decision was made to develop and manufacture nuclear weapons. The design adopted was a gun-assembly bomb using U-235.

South Africa is known to have received technical assistance from Israel on its weapon program, in exchange for supplying Israel with 300 tons of uranium. The extent of this assistance is not clear. Several Israeli nuclear scientists, including the "Oppenheimer of Israel" Ernst david Bergmann, visited South Africa in 1967, and evidence of increasingly close relations accumulate throughout the 70s. Moshe Dayan is reported to have made a secret visit to discuss nuclear weapon cooperation in 1974, including the possibility of nuclear tests. PM Vorster visited Israel in 1976 which resulted in the establishment of full diplomatic relations. Israel did supply South Africa with substantial quantities of tritium (about 30 grams), and probably provided technical advice about bomb design although details about this are lacking.

In 1977 US intelligence satellites observed preparations for a nuclear test site in the Kalahari Desert. The Carter administration brought pressure on South Africa (which perhaps did not realize up until that time how closely they were being observed) and further work on the site was abandoned. This may not have been the end of test preparations however.

Some uncertainty surrounds the fate of the first nuclear device built by South Africa. The story originally circulated by the South African government was that the first batch of enriched uranium (55 kg of 80% enriched U-235) was ready in September 1979 and was loaded into an experimental device named "Melba", which was completed in 1980. This device was used in one zero-yield test, the only nuclear test of the entire program.

This story has been called into question. In April 1997 South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad was reported as stating that an unexplained nuclear explosion detected in the south Indian Ocean on 22 September 1979 was a South African nuclear test, making South Africa the seventh nation known to have exploded a nuclear device. Subsequent investigation has shown that Pahad was conveying his own beliefs and the claim was not supported by definite knowledge. Over the years, other sources have also asserted similar stories however. See the Vela Incident article for more details about this event.

If the story of a South African test is true, then it would seem that the first batch of material was ready in September 1979, and was quickly loaded into a bomb prototype and then exploded in a covert naval operation. From documents made available to it, the IAEA believes that this first batch was not made uinto a device until November. This is however only a question of perhaps six weeks in the delivery schedule, and it is possible that alterations or omissions in the documents might prevent the IAEA from detecting a discrepancy of this size. Whether Melba was loaded with material from later production runs, or whether Melba ever actually existed at all as a laboratory test system is an open question.

An alternative story about the Vela incident asserts that it was some form of joint test between Israel and South African. In this case it may have been an Israeli manufactured device.

The first "deliverable" device ("it could be kicked out he back of a plane"), and the second device built, was ready in April 1982. This was considered a "prequalification device".

The final weapon design was a 65 cm by 1.8 m air-deliverable bomb weighing about 1000 kg. It used 55 kg of 90% enriched U-235 and had an estimated yield of 10-18 Kt (this is 1.0-1.8% efficient), other sources suggest a yield of 20 Kt at 96% enrichment. This implies a very conservative and reliable, but inefficient, design. It used tungsten as a reflector. If it were loaded with 80% U-235, this would have been 5-9 Kt (other sources say 4 Kt). This weapon had stringent safety and reliability standards, and a large proportion of the program's effort went into this aspect. The first was built in August 1987, and was the first truly weaponized device made. Only four devices of this type were built. When the program was terminated in 1990, a seventh was under construction (non-nuclear components only). This is really a deliverable inventory of only 4-5 bombs.

The enrichment plant, the Y Plant at Valindaba, had an effective capacity of around 60 kg of 90% U-235 a year, 120 kg/yr by design (12,000-24,000 separative work units or SWUs, assuming 0.3% tails assay), and was shut down in Feb. 1990. Part of this capacity was used for low enriched uranium for the two reactors of the Koeberg power plant (capacity 1930 MW electrical), and to supply 45% enriched material to the Safari 1 experimental reactor. The enrichment plant was commissioned in 1974, began producing highly enriched uranium in 1978, and by late 1979 had made enough 80% U-235 (55 kg) for Melba. It had initial production problems, and was closed from 8/79 to 7/81, but operated successfully thereafter. The total production of enriched uranium (above 80%) was 400 kg, it is believed that about 150-200 kg of 45% enriched uranium exists. The equipment for the final stages of separation was subsequently dismantled.

The bomb program was managed by the national armament company Armscor, now privatized and called Denel. The bombs were developed at the Advena Central Laboratory, 15 km east of the Pelindaba facility operated by the South African Atomic Energy Commission.

In the early 1980s, the program employed about 100 people, of which only about 40 were directly involved in the weapons program and only about 20 actually built the devices. The rest were involved in administrative support and security. By the time the program was canceled in 1989, the work force had risen to 300, with about half directly involved in weapons work.

By the end of the program they could produce two to three weapons a year. At that point, the annual operating expenditures were about 20-25 million rand, or about $5.9-7.4 million at today's exchange rate. In the early 1980s, the annual budget was about 10 million rand, or about $2.9 million.

The facilities and level of technology available at Advena appear much more sophisticated than a gun-type design would require. By the end of the program South Africa was investigating implosion designs, starting in the mid 80s. They considered a cost of a cold implosion test facility (natural uranium core, no nuclear reaction) to be essential for proving the implosion design. It was estimated at $3.5 million and was never built. Implosion designs would have halved the amount of material needed per bomb, and thus doubled their arsenal, while increasing the yield.

Advena had also investigated using tritium to boost its existing weapons, but no plans to do so were ever approved. The yield would have been increased to 100 Kt (10% efficiency). Since it now offers custom explosive lens products for commercial and military use, it is apparent that South Africa has mastered the necessary technologies for producing efficient implosion bombs.

South Africa has large indigenous uranium reserves, currently estimated at some 144,000 tonnes of U3O8 (at a production cost less than US$66/kg). South Africa's nuclear power plants provide about 6% of electricity consumed.

7.4.5 South Korea
South Korea began a nuclear weapons program in the early 1970s, which was believed abandoned after signing NPT in 1975. It may have been continued after this date by the military government however. In 1984-5 South Korea attempted to participate in a plutonium extraction program with Canada, as part of its own civilian nuclear power program. This participation was halted under US pressure. South Korea signed an agreement in 1991 with the North pledging a nuclear weapon-free Korean Peninsula. In 1994 Suh Sujong, former chief secretary to the head of the Agency for National Security, said that as recently as 1991 South Korea planned to develop nuclear as a response to North Korea's nuclear program if it could not be stopped.

South Korea builds its own civilian nuclear power plants, and is planning on supplying them to North Korea. It has a number of hot cells at the Post-Irradiation Examination (PIE) facility at the Daeduk research facility. These cells are used for dissolving an analyzing fuel rods for safety and engineering analyses. It has a 30 MW heavy water research reactor at Daeduk fueled with 19.75% enriched uranium fuel (undesirable for plutonium production). In 1989 it operated 9 power reactors producing 7700 MW electrical (50% of national needs), with plans for 5 more with a capacity of 4500 MWe. By 1995 this had increased to 10 reactors operating.

7.4.6 Sweden
During the 50s and 60s Sweden developed considerable nuclear expertise - developing reactor technology and building nuclear power plants. Sweden seriously investigated nuclear weapons from the mid 1950s into the 1960s. A very substantial research effort into the fundamental technical issues of weapon design and manufacture was conducted. By the mid-1960s this effort had supplied sufficient knowledge to allow Sweden to begin immediate manufacture of fairly sophisticated fission weapons. Faced with this decision, Sweden decided not to pursue a weapon production program.

In 1989 Sweden operated 12 power reactors producing 10130 MW electrical (45% of its total electricity), by 1994 this had risen to 51%. A previous referendum that voted to eliminate nuclear power by 2010 seems to have become moot in the face of economic reality.

7.4.7 Switzerland
In 1995 previously secret studies into nuclear weapons and plans for deployment came to light. A scientific group, the SKA (Study Commission for Nuclear Energy), had been formed in 1946 with the objective of studying the civil use of atomic energy and by secret order to also study the scientific and technical bases for building nuclear weapons. The activity of this group was rather low and only slow progress was made. The intensifying Cold War and the arms race of the mid-fifties provided new impetus however.

A secret commission, "Study Commission for the Possible Acquisition of Own Nuclear Arms", was instituted by Head of General Staff, Louis de Montmollin with a meeting on 29 March 1957. The recommendations of the commission were ultimately favorable, and on 23 December 1958 the Federal Council of Ministers instructed the Federal Military Department (EMD) to investigate the effects, the acquisition, the purchase and the manufacture of nuclear arms. Efforts remained focused on study and planning rather than implementation however.

By 1963 planning had proceeded to the point that detailed technical proposals, specific arsenals, and cost estimates were made. Dr. Paul Schmid prepared a 58-page thick report laying the theoretical foundations for Swiss nuclear armaments on 15 November 1963. On 28 November 1963, the Lower Chief of General Staff: Planning, calculated costs of 720 million Swiss francs over 35 years, initially including 20 million francs for pure research. Should the decision be for plutonium instead of super-enriched uranium, then the estimate would be 2,100 million francs over 27 years. On 4 May 1964 the military joint staff issued a recommendation to have about 100 bombs (60-100 Kt), 50 artillery shells (5 Kt) and 100 rockets (100 Kt) within the next 15 years, at costs of about 750 million Swiss francs. There were plans for 7 underground nuclear tests in 'uninhabited regions' of Switzerland ("an area with a radius of 2-3 km that can be sealed off completely").

Financial problems with the defense budget in 1964 prevented the substantial sums required from being allocated. Continuing financial short-falls prevented the proposed effort from getting off the ground. Then, on 27 November 1969, Switzerland signed the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Arms (NTP). The official (but unimplemented) policy of acquiring nuclear weapons was replaced by one of simply studying acquisition to provide a policy option should the NTP collapse.

The Working Committee for Nuclear Issues (AAA) was created, but met only 27 times between 1969 and 1988. As the thaw and rapprochement between the United States and Soviet Union proceeded in the late eighties the activity of the AAA seemed less and less relevant. Finally, it remained for the AAA to apply for its own dissolution, which was decided unanimously with one abstention. Accordingly, on 1 November 1988, Minister of State, Arnold Koller, drew the final stroke through the issue of Swiss nuclear armaments.

The first Swiss nuclear reactor (a heavy water test reactor) was built in 1960. Switzerland has five power reactors with a combined capacity of 3049 MW (electrical), providing 40% of the nation's power.

7.4.8 Taiwan

Taiwan ratified the NPT in 1970, but apparently began a preliminary nuclear weapon program in the 1970s. The 40 MW (thermal) Taiwan Research Reactor (TRR) supplied by Canada in 1969 is identical to the Cirus reactor used by India to produce the plutonium for its first bomb. In 1977 the US pressured Taiwan to stop construction of a hot cell facility for handling spent fuel from the TRR. A second hot cell facility for laboratory scale plutonium separation facility began construction in 1987, also to handle TRR fuel. Work was again halted in 1988 under US pressure, and Taiwan also agreed to shut down the TRR. Weapons-related work appears to have been discontinued. By 1988 Taiwan had accumulated 85 tonnes of irradiated fuel from this reactor containing 85 kg of plutonium, enough for 20 bombs. This material is under IAEA safeguards. The US subsequently persuaded Taiwan to ship the 1600 spent fuel rods to the US for safe keeping (although opposition in the US has kept the last 118 rods continuing 6 kg of plutonium from being shipped). In 1989 Taiwan had 6 power reactors producing 5144 MW electrical (35% of national needs), with plans for 2 more for an additional 2000 MW.

7.4.9 Algeria

Algeria has been something of a puzzle regarding its nuclear capabilities and intentions. In 1983 China secretly agreed to build a nuclear research facility, including a reactor, at Ain Oussera. This is an isolated area in the Atlas Mountains, 125 km south of Algiers. The reactor, named Es Salam, is a 15 MW thermal heavy water moderated reactor that uses low enriched uranium fuel. The facility includes a hot cell that can be used to separate plutonium on a small scale. A large heavy walled building nearby has no announced function, but is believed to have been intended to be a full scale plutonium plant.

This project was publicly reported in April 1991, and soon after the Algerian government agreed to place it under IAEA safeguards. The safeguard agreement was signed in February 1992, 22 months before the reactor began operating. In January 1995, Algeria signed the NPT. It is one of only six nations with nuclear reactors that failed to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the fall of 1996 however. The hot cell is now under IAEA safeguards, but the nearby building has not been declared as a nuclear facility by Algeria and thus is not subject to inspection.

The Salem reactor could have produced up to 5 kg of plutonium a year, enough for about one bomb. As it never operated out of IAEA safeguards there is no unsafeguarded fuel or plutonium in Algeria. Why Algeria started and then abandoned what appears to be a small scale nuclear weapons project remains a mystery.


7.5 Other Nuclear Capable States

In August 1996 there were 439 nuclear power plants in 32 countries, supplying 17% of the world's electricity (347,000 MW electrical capacity; 2228 trillion watt-hours total in 1995). There are 32 power reactors under construction in 12 countries (adding about 7 percent to existing capacity), and those ordered or planned would add a further 19 percent. Currently the growth rate in nuclear power production is about 4.5% a year (mostly due to improved operations of existing reactors). The continuing industrialization of Asia (and China in particular), coupled with the basically flat supply of petroleum and pressure to restrict fossil fuel burning in general, seems to assure continued strong expansion of worldwide nuclear power over the next few decades. Some fifteen countries derive 30% or more than of their electricity from nuclear power. There are also more than 310 research reactors operating worldwide in 54 countries, with more under construction.

The world's power reactors consume the equivalent of 60,000 tonnes of uranium each year. The total amount of plutonium produced worldwide is about 1270 tonnes at present (mostly unseparated), and is accumulating at 70 tonnes per year. It is estimated that civilian plutonium separation programs will produce 190,000 kg of plutonium during the 1990s.

Virtually any industrialized nation today has the technical capability to develop nuclear weapons within several years if the decision to do so were made. Nations already possessing substantial nuclear technology and arms industries could do so in no more than a year or two. The larger industrial nations (Japan and Germany for example) could, within several years of deciding to do so, build arsenals rivaling those planned by Russia and the US for the turn of the millennium following the implementation of START II.

It is also very likely that most any country with advanced military capabilities system will have undertaken design work in nuclear weapons to some extent. This is almost mandatory for national security reasons, if only to provide indigenous expertise in evaluating intelligence and projecting the capabilities of possible foes.

Accordingly I will only briefly mention below some notable capabilities of possessed by certain states that could potentially be turned to the development of nuclear arsenals if they chose.

7.5.1 Australia

From the 1950s to 1971 Australia produced uranium, primarily for the US and UK weapons programs. When the deposits being mined were exhausted, production and exports ceased.

Large new deposits were opened for production in the late 1970s, this time only for civilian use under international safeguards. However since uranium is being exported to France, which does not separate its civilian and military nuclear programs, the exports are still supporting at least one nuclear weapons program.

Actual production began in 1981 and during the last decade Australia has become one of the world's largest producers of uranium. From mid-1985 to mid-1995 it exported 43,000 tonnes of U3O8 (uranium content 36,000 tonnes) worth almost A$3 billion, an average of 10% of world production (currently 7%). Australia has the world's largest low cost uranium reserves, about 27% of the world's estimated reserves, with 928,000 tonnes of U3O8 at a production cost of US less than $80/kg U (May 1995).

Curiously for an industrialized nation that is also a major uranium supplier, Australia has no nuclear power plants. It has one 10 MW (thermal) research reactor.

7.5.2 Canada

Canada has a well developed nuclear technology base, centered around its domestically developed civilian CANDU (Canadian Deuterium Uranium) power reactor technology and large uranium reserves. CANDU reactors are heavy water designs that are fueled by natural uranium dioxide. The fuel is typically subjected to 7500 MWD/tonne burnup, which makes the plutonium produced reactor grade although they could be operated to produce weapon grade Pu. These reactors also produce 250-500 g of tritium a year as a byproduct. In 1995 Canada operated 21 power reactors. 19 of these are at three locations in Ontario with a combined capacity of 13300 MW electrical, and a further reactor each in Quebec and New Brunswick. Canada produces 19% of its electricity from nuclear power.

Canada was the first nation in the western hemisphere to build a heavy water plant (the Trail Plant during WWII, which was only the second heavy water plant ever built). It has produced all of the heavy water used in its reactors. Since demand and production has declined in recent years, currently only one D2O production facility remains in operation. Canada exports heavy water under IAEA safeguards.

A total of 13 CANDU reactors have been sold to Pakistan, India, Argentina, South Korea and Romania, along with the engineering expertise to build and operate them.

Canada has one conversion facility that produces UF6 for export, with a capacity of 10,500 tonnes U per year. Two fuel fabrication plants produce 1700 tonnes U per year for the country's own reactors.

The Canadian nuclear industry is responsible for providing 30,000 direct jobs (2000 of these in mining) and a further 10,000 indirect jobs.

Canada is currently the world's largest producer of uranium, accounting for 32% of world production (1995). In 1995 it produced 12,351 tonnes of U3O8 (10,473 tonnes U). About 20 per cent of Canada's uranium production is domestically consumed. Based on new explorations, reserves are now estimated (January 1996) at 484,000 tonnes of uranium at a production cost of under US$72.70/kg (14% of world reserves, third largest after Australia and Kazakhstan).

7.5.3 Germany

Germany has a robust nuclear industry capable of manufacturing reactors, enriching uranium, fuel fabrication, and fuel reprocessing. During the 1980s Germany was a leading exporter of nuclear technology, sometimes with unfortunate results as its sales to Iraq demonstrated.

It operates 23 power reactors producing 24000 MW electrical, 35% of its total electrical needs. The reactors in the former East Germany have all been shut down.

Germany has recently abandoned plans for fuel reprocessing and the use of plutonium in domestic reactors. A planned commercial reprocessing plant has been canceled, and its existing breeder reactors are being reconfigured as plutonium burners. Due to reprocessing done elsewhere, Germany will own 48 tonnes of separated reactor grade plutonium by the year 2000.

Several German companies are key participants in the tri-national URENCO uranium enrichment consortium that developed gas centrifuge technology. Germany also holds exclusive control of domestically developed nozzle enrichment technology.

As is true of Japan, Germany has an advanced science and technology base capable of supporting an aggressive nuclear program should it be deemed necessary to do so. Although hard information about this is lacking, it is likely that Germany has undertaken advanced design work on a full range of nuclear weapon types. As noted at the beginning of this sub-section, this would be almost mandatory for national security reasons if only to create a base of expertise for conducting intelligence assessments of the nuclear programs of other nations.

7.5.4 Japan

Japan has a very aggressive nuclear power program, and is developing plutonium as a reactor fuel in a big way. Japan is maintains an active breeder reactor program and expects to institute a plutonium energy economy with full reprocessing after the year 2000.

Overall Japan has an extremely advanced civilian scientific and engineering infrastructure capable of supporting nuclear weapons development and production. Japan has indigenously developed some uranium enrichment processes (e.g. the Ashi chemical exchange process), and has the technical means to deploy other processes if it chooses to do so. As one of the two leading manufacturing nations for computers (especially supercomputers), and has the second most advanced inertial confinement fusion program in the world, Japan is well positioned to quickly develop thermonuclear weapons.

In 1989 Japan produced 28% of its electricity (30500 MW) from 39 nuclear power plants, but had 26 more plants under construction or on the planning board. This would bring its nuclear power production to 57000 MW, over 50% of its total. In 1995 it had 50 reactors operating, providing 31% of its electricity. Japan plans eventually to generate all of its base load electricity from nuclear power.

Japan has an active breeder reactor development program, and operates the Monju fast breeder reactor. Japan has a limited plutonium reprocessing pilot plant at Tokai, and has contracts with Britain and France for several tons of reprocessed plutonium, although tens of tons are expected in the future.

The Rokkasho separation plant, under construction by Japan Nuclear Fuels Ltd. since 1993, will have a capacity of 800 tonnes/yr of heavy metal. Safety upgrades have delayed its completion until 2003, at a cost of US$15 billion. Reprocessing costs are expected to be 40% higher than currently incurred for reprocessing in Europe.

At the end of 1994 Japan possessed 13 tonnes of separated plutonium. Of this,

    4352 kg was held domestically:

     at reprocessing plants      836 kg,

     at fuel fabrication facilities 3018 kg,

     at reactors and R&D facilities  498 kg;


    8720 kg was held overseas:

    in UK               1412 kg

    in France           7308 kg.

Japan has used plutonium in mixed oxide fuel for light water reactors and for fast neutron reactors over some 15 years. In 1994, 323 kg of plutonium was used in Monju, Joyo and Fugen reactors, and 111 kg was recovered from reprocessing spent fuel in Japan.

By the year 2000 Japan will have an inventory of about 55 tonnes of separated reactor grade plutonium. It should be noted that this is enough plutonium to manufacture ~10,000 warheads, more than the combined nominal arsenals of the US and Russia combined under START II.

Although hard information about this is lacking, it is likely that Japan has undertaken advanced design work on a full range of nuclear weapon types. As noted at the beginning of this sub-section, this would be almost mandatory for national security reasons if only to create a base of expertise for conducting intelligence assessments of the nuclear programs of other nations. In contrast with Germany, Japan is in a relatively exposed position to potential threats with a long-term trend that is decidedly negative due to the rapid growth of China's strength. It may also be argued that the lack of NATO membership for Japan makes the US nuclear umbrella somewhat more tenuous. These factors give Japan greater incentive to maintain a latent nuclear weapons capability. Should Japan decide to do so, it is likely that emergency capability nuclear weapons could be deployed by Japan within a few months of a decision to produce them.

According to proliferation assessments made by the US government, no non-nuclear country is as well positioned to "break-out" and develop advanced nuclear weapons than Japan.

7.5.6 Netherlands

Operates two power reactors producing 539 MW electrical, 5% of it electrical needs. Several Dutch companies are key participants in the tri-national URENCO uranium enrichment consortium. By the year 2000 the Netherlands will own about 2 tonnes of separated reactor grade plutonium.


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