Nuclear Proliferation: A Historical Overview
INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA
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A great deal of analysis has focused on the intentions of nuclear proliferators. Instead, this analysis focuses on capabilities. Our purpose is to understand how individual countries have developed their technical potential to produce nuclear weapons. The analysis reported here surveys the experience of 52 countries over 57 years as they have taken steps to develop nuclear related technical capabilities. For each country, key decision points in the development of those capabilities have been gathered, catalogued, and referenced. Those decisions relate to three key attributes access to fissile material, weapons design and engineering, and treaty status. Each attribute has a spectrum of capability associated with it. The actual technical potential of a country to produce nuclear weapons is a function of its place on these spectrums. As further explained in the body of the report, we distinguish four basic levels of weapons potential nil, modest, high, and for serial production.
- Nuclear Warfare
- Fission Reactor Materials
- Nuclear Weapons