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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • June 10, 1955

    Central Intelligence Agency Information Report, 'The Development of an Ultra-Centrifuge at the Nuclear Institute of Manfred von Ardenne in Sinop'

    CIA report describing the construction process of ultra-centrifuges in the Soviet nuclear institute of Sinop and the personnel working there.

  • December 07, 1959

    C. L. Marshall, Director, Division of Classification, to A. A. Wells, Director, Division of International Affairs, 'Cooperation in the Field of Gas Centrifuge'

    US Atomic Energy Commission classification director C. L. Marshall explains to international affairs director A. A. Wells that the design for the gas centrifuge must be classified for fear of providing an “unfriendly nation” a low-energy consuming method for “the separation of heavy isotopes…an important part of a [nuclear] weapons program.”

  • February 19, 1960

    A.A. Wells, Director, Division of International Affairs, to Philip J. Farley, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for Disarmament and Atomic Energy, 'Control of and Cooperation in Gas Centrifuge Research and Development Program'

    The development of the gas centrifuge method, according to this report, would make production of U-235 (and by extension, nuclear weapons) possible for as many as 20-30 foreign countries. The U.S. is thus forced to consider its strategy for how to limit proliferation despite this new, cheap technology.

  • February 26, 1960

    S.A. Levin, D. E. Hatch, and E. Von Halle, 'Production of Enriched Uranium for Nuclear Weapons by Nations X, Y, and Z by Means of the Gas Centrifuge Process,' Operations Analysis Division, Union Carbide Nuclear Company

    A Union Carbide Nuclear Company study to determine how quickly and easily foreign countries could develop and utilize gas centrifuges with the goal of creating nuclear weapon facilities. The study determines that, due to the cheap cost and relatively small size of the centrifuges, even un-industrialized countries such as Cuba could achieve this technology within 8 years if helped by a larger nation.

  • March 23, 1960

    Philip J. Farley, special Assistant to the Secretary of State, to Algie A. Wells, Director, Division of International Affairs, Atomic Energy Commission, 'Control of and Cooperation in Gas Centrifuge Research and Development Program'

    As West Germany and The Netherlands developed ultra-centrifuges without a classification policy, the AEC discuss ways to keep the technology under wraps without arousing suspicion from the other members of Euratom.

  • April 09, 1960

    Atomic Energy Commission, 'Gas Centrifuge Method of Isotope Separation,' AEC 610/15

    Having read the Union Carbide and General Electric reports on gas centrifuges, and taking into account West Germany and The Netherlands’ unwillingness to classify their programs, the AEC looks into other courses of action, including collaboration with the other two nations and even declassifying their own program.

  • April 22, 1960

    A.R. Luedecke, General Manager, Atomic Energy Commission, to Philip J. Farley, Department of State

    The AEC agrees to initiate talks with Western European nations in the attempt to control nuclear proliferation through the classification of gas centrifuge technology.

  • March 04, 1964

    S. A. Levin, L.R. Powers, and E. Von Halle, Union Carbide Corporation Nuclear Division, 'Nth Power Evaluation'

    Union Carbide Nuclear Company updates their previous study on the ease with which other nations could secretly create nuclear weapon facilities using the gas centrifuge.

  • April 23, 1964

    Letter from Thomas Hughes, Director, Office of Intelligence and Research, Department of State, to Director of Central Intelligence John McCone

    Noting new intelligence information on the Indian and Israeli nuclear programs, as well as the possibility of developments concerning Sweden, Hughes requested McCone to initiate a new estimate of nuclear proliferation trends, which would eventually become part of a October 1964 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). Hughes enclosed draft “terms of reference,” that included questions about the possibility of “clandestine” weapons programs and new technological developments that could make weapons development “easier” (perhaps a reference to gas centrifuge technology that the 1964 NIE would discuss).

  • November 23, 1965

    Glenn Seaborg, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission, to National Security Adviser McGeorge, Bundy, enclosing summary of 'Nth Country Evaluation'

    Summary of Union Carbide’s 1964 study on gas centrifuge technology’s effect on nuclear proliferation. The summary provides Union Carbide’s estimations for how long countries of varying industrial capability would take to develop a nuclear weapon, which was redacted in the original document.

  • April 19, 1971

    Memorandum, Ambassador Paulo Nogueira Batista, Information for the President of Brazil, 'Enrichment of Uranium'

    A secret report addressed to Minister of Foreign Affairs Mario Gibson Barbosa by Amb. Paulo Nogueira Batista (Brazilian Embassy, Bonn) describing alternatives for the establishment of comprehensive, long-term nuclear agreements between Brazil and a “country to be defined.” The report suggests that given the trends in uranium production in the US and Europe, Brazil needed to either associate itself with France to purchase gas diffusion technology or develop, together with Germany, ultracentrifugation or jet nozzle technologies. The notion was that “countries that decide to develop their own enrichment capacity will not only occupy a privileged competitive position but also will become part of an oligopoly with obvious political implications.” Nogueira Batista was worried, however, that Germany might not be able to offer Brazil centrifugation technology under existing obligations.

  • November 30, 2001

    Military Intelligence Digest Supplement, US Defense Intelligence Agency, 'Iraq: Procuring Possible Nuclear-Related Gas Centrifuge Equipment'

    This DIA article briefly describes Iraq’s effort to procure aluminum tubes from 1986 to 1991 and discusses the potential for their use for conventional military purposes.

  • September 13, 2002

    Technical Intelligence Note, US Department of Energy, Office of Intelligence, 'Iraq: Recent Aluminum Tube Procurement Efforts'

    Although the Department of Energy dissented against other Departments' opinions on the Iraqi aluminum tubes its intelligence office went along with the prevailing view that Iraq was trying to “rejuvenate” its nuclear program.