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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 18, September 1997

Report Alleges US Nuclear Weapons Design Programme

On 18 August, the New York Times reported that the US continues to work on designing new nuclear weapons, despite official protestations that maintenance of its nuclear stockpile marks the current limit of its ambition and intent. The report was based on what was claimed to be classified Department of Energy (DOE) report - the 'Green Book' - made available to the paper by the Washington-based non-governmental organization the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Editor's note: In August 1997, NRDC release an interim assessment of the Green Book. In its assessment, the DOE is working actively to ensure that the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), signed by the US in September 1996, does not significantly impinge on US weapons-design and development capability. According to the introduction to the NRDC assessment, End Run: The US Government's Plan for Designing Nuclear Weapons and Simulating Nuclear Explosions under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Green Book details "a program that is explicitly intended to produce, for publication largely in the peer-reviewed unclassified literature, accurate theoretical models of the fundamental physical processes at work in each stage of a thermonuclear weapon's operation, thereby freeing nuclear weapons design from the shackles of a politically burdensome, easily-observable, nuclear-test-based empiricism." Interested readers are referred to the NRDC's web-site http://www.igc.org/nrdc.

Report: United States reportedly designs nuclear arms, Reuters, 18 August.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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