Timeline of nuclear risk

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This is a timeline of nuclear risk.

Sample questions

The following are some interesting questions that can be answered by reading this timeline:

Big picture

Time period Development summary More details
1960s The Cuban Missile Crisis threatens nuclear war
1970s "In addition to that, Zuberi notes that “by the late 1970s the defni�tion of proliferation changed from acquiring nuclear weapons or other explosive devices to developing a ‘nuclear explosive capability’”, and “consequently, the objective of safeguards changed from early detection of diversion of signifcant quantities of nuclear materials from peaceful to military pursuits to ‘prevention of development of nuclear explosive 4 ON NUCLEAR (DIS-)ORDER 121 capability’” (Zuberi 2003, p. 44)."[1]
1980s "The decade was dominated by the Cold War superpower competition of the United States and the Soviet Union. Much of the world held its collective breath during the first years of the decade as tensions and the nuclear arms race heated up between the two rivals, leading to popular anti-nuclear protests worldwide and the nuclear freeze movement in the United States. The international community exhaled a bit in the second half of the decade as the United States and the Soviet Union earnestly sat down at the arms negotiating table and for the first time eliminated an entire category of nuclear weapons through the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The two countries also proceeded to negotiate cuts to their strategic nuclear forces, which ultimately would be realized in the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. Although the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race was center stage, efforts to advance and constrain the nuclear weapons ambitions and programs of other countries played out in the wings, sometimes as part of the superpower drama. For instance, the United States shunted nonproliferation concerns aside in ignoring Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program because of that country’s role in fighting Soviet forces inside Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Iraq, North Korea, and South Africa advanced their nuclear weapons efforts in relative secrecy. In this decade, Iran began to secretly acquire uranium-enrichment-related technology from Pakistani suppliers. Taiwan’s covert nuclear weapons program, however, was squelched by U.S. pressure. Other nonproliferation gains included a joint declaration by Argentina and Brazil to pursue nuclear technology only for peaceful purposes, alleviating fears of a nuclear arms race between the two, and the conclusion of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the South Pacific. Moreover, the NPT added 30 new statesparties during the decade, including North Korea."[2]
2000s "many countries began expressing a newfound interest in nuclear energy during the early 2000s."[3]

Full timeline

Year Month and date Category Event type Details Involved country
1939 April German nuclear weapons program Germany
1943 August 19 Quebec Agreement
1945 Nuclear weapon program Nuclear test In the New Mexico desert, American scientists conduct "Trinity," the first nuclear weapons test, marking the beginning of the atomic age.[4]
1945 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
1946 Organization The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is established.[5] Canada
1946 June Baruch Plan[6]
1946 Nuclear security Program launch The Truman administration commissions the Acheson-Lilienthal Report, which proposes the international control of the nuclear fuel cycle, revealing atomic energy technology to the USSR, and the decommissioning of all existing nuclear weapons through the new United Nations (UN) system, via the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC).
1946 Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists
1949 August 25 Nuclear weapon program Test launch Soviet Union conducts its first nuclear test. Soviet Union
1949 Nuclear security Organization Federal Protective Forces[7]
1952 June 13 Organization The Israel Atomic Energy Commission is established.[8] Israel
1952 October 3 Nuclear weapon program Nuclear test Operation Hurricane United Kingdom, Australia
1953 December 8 Atoms for Peace
1955 Nuclear security Organization The UK Atomic Energy Authority Constabulary is established as the armed security police force of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.[9] It would operate until 1 April 2005.[10] United Kingdom
1955 Mainau Declaration
1957 July 29 Organization The International Atomic Energy Agency is established[11] with the mission to promote and oversee the peaceful use of nuclear technology.[2]
1957 September 29 Nuclear weapon program Accident A hastily stored tank of nuclear waste explodes in the Russian town Ozyorsk, the original site of the Soviet nuclear weapons program.
1957 November Nuclear disarmament Program launch Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.[12]
1958 October 17 Nuclear security Ireland proposes the first resolution at the United Nations to prohibit the “further dissemination of nuclear weapons.”[2] Ireland
1959 Nuclear power program Notable case A reactor in Italy becomes the last nuclear project financed by the World Bank.[3] Italy
1959 Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (NZ)
1960 February 13 Nuclear weapon program Nuclear test France conducts its first nuclear test explosion, becoming the world’s fourth nuclear state, after the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom.[2] France
1960 State program Notable case The first Israeli nuclear reactor goes on line, with the second in 1962.[3] Israel
1961 December 4 "December 4, 1961: The UN General Assembly unanimously approves Resolution 1665, which is based on the earlier Irish draft resolution and calls for negotiations to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons to additional states. The resolution says that countries already having nuclear weapons would “undertake to refrain from relinquishing control” of them to others and would refrain “from transmitting information for their manufacture to States not possessing” them. Countries without nuclear weapons would agree not to receive or manufacture them. These ideas formed the basis of the NPT"[2]
1961 December 20 McCloy–Zorin Accords is signed.
1962 Mutual assured destruction
1962 October 15 A U.S. military plane discovers Soviet nuclear missiles under construction in Cuba. Cuba, United States, Soviet Union
1963 March 21 "March 21, 1963: In a press conference, President John Kennedy warns, “I see the possibility in the 1970s of the president of the United States having to face a world in which 15 or 20 or 25 nations may have [nuclear] weapons. I regard that as the greatest possible danger and hazard.” Kennedy made this statement a month after a secret Department of Defense memorandum assessed that eight countries—Canada, China, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and West Germany—would likely have the ability to produce nuclear weapons within 10 years."[2]
1963 Test Readiness Program
1963 August 5 Nuclear disarmament Treatment The Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (PTBT) is signed in Moscow by the governments of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States before it is opened for signature by other countries.[13][14] It prohibits nuclear explosions in any environment where the radioactive debris falls outside the limits of the state conducting the explosion.[15] Soviet Union, United Kingdom, United States
1964 October 16 Nuclear weapon program Nuclear test China conducts its first nuclear test explosion.[2] China
1965 August 17 Nuclear security The United States submits to the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee its first draft proposal to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union submits its first draft a month later.[2] United States, Soviet Union
1967 January 27 Outer Space Treaty is signed. Effective 10 October 1967
1967 February 14 Nuclear security Treaty The Treaty of Tlatelolco is opened for signature, establishing Latin America and the Caribbean as a nuclear-weapon-free zone. It is the first of five such regional zones to be negotiated. The other zones cover Africa, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific, and Central Asia.[2] Latin America and the Caribbean
1967  ? Nuclear weapon program Israel secretly acquires the capability to build a nuclear explosive device.[2] Israel
1967 August 24 Nuclear security Treaty The United States and Soviet Union separately introduce identical draft treaties to the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee on preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.[2] United States, Soviet Union
1967 November Nuclear power program "Iran’s first nuclear reactor, the U.S. supplied five-megawatt Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) goes critical. It operates on uranium enriched to about 93 percent (it is converted to run on 20 percent in 1993,) which the United States also supplies."[16] Iran
1968 June 12 Nuclear security "June 12, 1968: The UN General Assembly adopts Resolution 2373, endorsing the draft text of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). The vote was 95 to 4 with 21 abstentions. The four no votes were Albania, Cuba, Tanzania, and Zambia."[2]
1968 June 19 United Nations Security Council Resolution 255 is adopted.
1968 July 1 Nuclear security International law The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is signed.[17] "July 1, 1968: The NPT is opened for signature and is signed by the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Article IX of the treaty established that entry into force would require the treaty’s ratification by those three countries (the treaty’s depositories) and 40 additional states. China and France, the other two recognized nuclear-weapon states under the treaty, do not sign it. China argued the treaty was discriminatory and refused to sign or adhere to it. France, on the other hand, indicated that it would not sign the treaty but “would behave in the future in this field exactly as the States adhering to the Treaty.” Both states acceded to the treaty in 1992."[2]
1969 Union of Concerned Scientists
1969 November Nuclear disarmament Strategic Arms Limitation Talks[18]
1970 March 5 Zangger Committee "March 5, 1970: The NPT enters into force with 46 states-parties."[2]
1971 Arms Control Association
1972 May 26 Nuclear disarmament Treaty The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is signed[19] as an arms control treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union on the limitation of the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems used in defending areas against ballistic missile-delivered nuclear weapons. It is intended to reduce pressures to build more nuclear weapons to maintain deterrence.[20] United States, Soviet Union
1973 February 27 Nuclear security Organization The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission is established.[21] Its main objective is to promote use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.[22] Bangladesh
1974 May 18 Nuclear weapon program Nuclear test Using a reactor provided by Canada for “peaceful” purposes[3], India becomes the first non-nuclear-weapon state to conduct a nuclear test, called Operation Smiling Buddha. A non–NPT member, New Delhi insists the test is a “peaceful” nuclear explosion to mollify international criticism.[2] Nuclear materials were supplied by the United States, and the Canadian reactor was used to produce plutonium for the nuclear explosive. This case can be seen as an example of how early civilian nuclear assistance could lead to the foundation of nuclear weapon programs.[3] India
1974 State program Program launch "Shah Reza Pahlavi establishes the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and announces plans to generate about 23,000 megawatts of energy over 20 years, including the construction of 23 nuclear power plants and the development of a full nuclear fuel cycle."[16] Iran
1974 Organization The Nuclear Suppliers Group is formed.[23]
1974 September 3 The International Atomic Energy Agency publishes the “trigger list” developed by the Zangger Committee, identifying nuclear items that require IAEA safeguards as a condition of export.[2]
1975 January 19 Nuclear security Organization The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is formed.[24] United States
1975 May 30 Nuclear security Conference The 91 states-parties to the NPT hold the treaty’s first review conference.[2]
1975 State program Nuclear cooperation Taiwan receives nuclear assistance from France.[25][3] In the same year, the CIA reports, “Taipei conducts its small nuclear program with a weapon option clearly in mind, and it will be in a position to fabricate a nuclear device after five years or so.”[26] Taiwan
1976 State program Nuclear cooperation Iraq signs an agreement for nuclear cooperation with France, which provides Osiris-class nuclear reactor.[3] Intended for peaceful scientific research[27], in 1981 it would be destroyed by the Israelis, who believe it was designed to make nuclear weapons. Iraq
1977 Program launch The Jimmy Carter administration launches the International Fuel Cycle Evaluation to discuss the options the establishment of joint regional fuel-cycle facilities and practical aspects of multilateral cooperation on storage of plutonium.[1] United States
1978 January 11 Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) member states provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with the first NSG Guidelines, a common set of guidelines they would follow in making nuclear exports. They are published as an Information Circular to apply to nuclear transfers to non-nuclear weapons states for peaceful purposes to help ensure that such transfers would not be diverted to unsafeguarded nuclear fuel cycle or nuclear explosive activities.[28][2]
1978 Nuclear Information and Resource Service
1978 Security National law The United States Congress passes the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act to put further restrictions on US nuclear exports.[1] United States
1979 State program Statistics Peak of the nuclear power sector’s growth in the world. At this time, there are 233 power reactors being simultaneously under construction, a number had fallen to 120 by 1987.[3] Worldwide
1979 "The Iranian Revolution and the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran result in a severing of U.S.-Iranian ties and damages Iran’s relationship with the West. Iranian nuclear projects are halted."[16] Iran
1979 October 26 The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material is adopted in Vienna. It would enter into force on 8 February 1987.
1979 (November 9) "Another incident occurred at around 11:00 a.m. on November 9, 1979, when computer screens at both the Pentagon and North American Aerospace Defense Command showed that the United States was under attack. Soviet missiles had been launched from submarines and land. Immediately, fighter planes took off to look for signs of the strike. Across the dozens of Strategic Air Command bases, klaxons sounded. Air traffic controllers were warned that they may have to immediately ground all commercial flights, clearing the skies for the military. As military leaders prepared to respond, someone discovered that a technician had put a training tape into a computer from a war game exercise that simulated a Soviet attack.[29]. It was fortunate that the incident had occurred at a time of relatively low tensions between the Cold War powers, otherwise the duty officers might not have double checked what their screens were telling them."[30] United States
1980 Organization The Committee on International Security and Armament Control (CISAC) is established at the United States National Academy of Sciences, with the purpose to maintain bilateral contacts with an analogous group at the Soviet Academy of Science.[31] United States, Russia
1980 State program Statistics At this time there are sixty-five nuclear engineering programs in the United States, a number that would be reduced to only thirty-one by 2008.[3][32].
1980 Alva Myrdal is awarded the Albert Einstein Peace Prize.
1980 United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research
1981 State program Notable case The Israeli Air Force destroys the unfinished Iraqi Osirak reactor during the Operation Opera.[33] This attack would be widely viewed to be a stopgap measure, delaying but not preventing Iraqi nuclear aspirations.[3]
1981 George F. Kennan is awarded the Albert Einstein Peace Prize.
1982 State program Notable case South Africa develops and builds its first nuclear explosive device,[34] with its scientists having been trained by the United States as a result of government-backed programs.[3] South Africa
1982 McGeorge Bundy, Robert McNamara, and Gerard C. Smith are awarded the Albert Einstein Peace Prize.
1982–1983 State program Notable case India smuggles Chinese heavy water through German nuclear-materials broker Alfred Hempel, who manages to ship 60 tons of heavy water to Bombay.[35][3] India
1983 State program Notable case Argentina announces having built a "medium-sized" uranium-enrichment plant.[36] Argentina
1983 Joseph Bernardin is awarded the Albert Einstein Peace Prize.
1983 United States President Ronald Reagan declares the “Strategic Defense Initiative” (SDI), which slows down the process of negotiations on START-1 and nearly blocks the conclusion of this and other agreements in the field of nuclear disarmament.[31] United States
1983 "A more serious threat to MAD came with President Reagan’s announcement in 1983 that the United States would create a missile defense system—the Strategic Defense Initiative—that would use weapons such as satellite-mounted lasers to shoot down incoming missiles. Until this system, dubbed “Star Wars,” ended a decade later, many feared that it would have made a nuclear war more likely by undermining nuclear deterrence."[30]
1984 Sample case India buys beryllium from a German company.[37][3] Beryllium is a neutron reflector used in nuclear weapons.[38] It is a substitute for gold or natural uranium reflectors in early devices, with the purpose of saving much weight and money.[39] India
1984 Pierre Trudeau is awarded the Albert Einstein Peace Prize.
1984 State program Nuclear cooperation Iran receives nuclear assistance.[3] Iran
1985 Nuclear security Organization The Atomic Energy Licensing Board is established.[40] It is a Malaysian regulatory body directly involved in controlling the radiation safety and activities concerning atomic energy.[41] It operates a radiation detection equipment aimed to support nuclear security training and detection capabilities at major public events in Asia and the Pacific.[42] Malaysia
1985 Willy Brandt is awarded the Albert Einstein Peace Prize.
1985 August 6 "The Treaty of Rarotonga, the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, opened for signature on 6 August 1985 and entered into force on 11 December 1986."[43]
Rarotonga Participation.svg
1986 April 26 Background The Chernobyl disaster occurs. This incident would have a devastating effect on nuclear industries around the world, as a result of decline in demand for nuclear power.[3] Ukraine
1986 Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control
1986 "Mordechai Vanunu, at the Israeli nuclear facility near Dimona revealed information about the Israeli nuclear weapon program to the British press, confirming widely held notions that Israel had an advanced and secretive nuclear weapons program and stockpile. Israel has never acknowledged or denied having a weapons program, and Vanunu was abducted and smuggled to Israel, where he was tried in camera and convicted of treason and espionage." Israel
1986 Olof Palme is awarded the Albert Einstein Peace Prize.
1986 October 11–12 Reykjavík Summit[44]
1987 Iran acquires technical schematics for building a P-1 centrifuge from the Abdul Qadeer Khan network.[16] Iran
1987 Nuclear Risk Reduction Center
1987 December 8 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.[45]
1988 Andrei Sakharov is awarded the Albert Einstein Peace Prize.
1990 Mikhail Gorbachev is awarded the Albert Einstein Peace Prize.
1990 Robert Axelrod (1990) - For his imaginative use of game theory, experimentation, and computer simulation to define and test strategies for confrontation and cooperation and other models of social interaction.
1991 April 3 "April 3, 1991: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 687 requiring Iraq to eliminate its secret nuclear weapons program, which was revealed after the Iraqi defeat in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Iraq had illegally pursued the weapons program despite being an NPT state-party. Following the adoption of Resolution 687, the IAEA gained a greater understanding of Iraq’s clandestine program and dismantled and sealed its remnants."[2]
1991 July 10 South Africa accedes to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Two years later, the South African government admits having covertly built six completed nuclear devices and then dismantled them before joining the accord.[2] South Africa
1991 July 18 Organization The Brazilian–Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials is formed.[46] Argentina, Brazil
1991 July 31 Nuclear disarmament Treaty START I[47] United States, Soviet Union
1991 December 12 Soviet Nuclear Threat Reduction Act of 1991
Early 1990s Sample case Many nuclear smugglers are thought to be moving directly from the former Soviet Union to Western Europe by road or rail.[3]
1992 March 9 China accedes to the NPT.[48] China
1992 Joseph Rotblat and Hans Bethe are awarded the Albert Einstein Peace Prize.
1992 May 23 The Lisbon Protocol is signed by representatives of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan that recognize the four states as successors of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and all of them assume obligations of the Soviet Union under the START I treaty. Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine sign the Lisbon Protocol committing to join the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as non-nuclear-weapon states. All three had nuclear weapons when they were Soviet republics.[2]
1992 Program launch The Cooperative Threat Reduction Program begins.[3]
1992 "Congress passes the Iran-Iraq Arms Nonproliferation Act of 1992, which prohibits the transfer of controlled goods or technology that might contribute “knowingly and materially” to Iran’s proliferation of advanced conventional weapons."[16]
1992 August 3 France accedes to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, becoming the last of the five recognized nuclear-weapon states to do so.[2] France
1992 September World Uranium Hearing
1992 October 23 The Former Soviet Union Demilitarization Act of 1992 becomes effective.
1993 January 3 Nuclear disarmament Treaty START II is signed.[49] United States, Russia
1993 April 1 The International Atomic Energy Agency declares North Korea in noncompliance with its safeguards obligations and refers Pyongyang to the United Nations Security Council.[2] North Korea
1993 Institute for Science and International Security
1993 Thomas C. Schelling (1993) - For his pioneering work on the logic of military strategy, nuclear war, and arms races, which has profoundly influenced our understanding of this crucial subject.
1993 September 27 Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty: In a 27 September 1993 speech before the UN, President Clinton called for a multilateral convention banning the production of fissile materials for nuclear explosives or outside international safeguards.
1993 "Conversion of the TRR is completed by Argentina’s Applied Research Institute. It now runs on fuel enriched to just less than 20 percent, 115 kilograms of which is provided by Argentina; the contract for the conversion was signed in 1987."[16]
1994 January 11 Kremlin accords
1994 "Former President Jimmy Carter and North Korean leader Kim Il Sung negotiated the U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework, in which North Korea committed to freeze its plutonium-based weapons program"[50] North Korea
1994 Nonproliferation Policy Education Center
1995 April 11 United Nations Security Council Resolution 984 "The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 984 acknowledging the unilateral pledges by the five nuclear-weapon states not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclearweapon states-parties to the NPT. The move is seen as a way to win greater support for the possible indefinite extension of the treaty"[2]
1995 May 11 "NPT states-parties agree to the treaty’s indefinite extension. Article X of the NPT called for a conference of states-parties to be held 25 years after the treaty’s entry into force in order to determine whether the treaty would remain in force indefinitely or for other additional periods of time. This conference was held in 1995 and began with considerable uncertainty regarding the nature of any extension. Non-nuclear-weapon states, particularly developing countries belonging to the Nonaligned Movement, expressed disappointment with the lack of progress toward nuclear disarmament and feared that a decision to extend the treaty indefinitely would by default enable the nuclear-armed states to hold on to their nuclear arsenals in perpetuity and avoid any accountability in eliminating them."[2]
1995 Sample case Customs officials catch a man trying to smuggle highly enriched uranium through a land checkpoint in Bulgaria.[3] Bulgaria
1995 November The Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons is initiated.
1995 December 5 Ukraine accedes to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.[2] Ukraine
1995 December 15 Member states of ASEAN sign the Treaty of Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (SEANWFZ Treaty, also Bangkok Treaty) as a commitment to preserve the Southeast Asian region as a region free of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.[51]
1996 Nuclear power program Policy The World Bank adopts a more official policy proscription against loans for nuclear power plants.[3]
1996 April 12 Nuclear security Treaty "The African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty, also known as the “Pelindaba Treaty”, established the nuclear-weapon-free zone on the African continent. It opened for signature on 12 April 1996 in Cairo, Egypt and entered into force on 15 July 2009."[52]
1996 July 8 Advisory opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons
1996 July Nuclear security Organization The Wassenaar Arrangement is formally established as a Multilateral export control regime with (MECR) with 41 participating states that promotes transparency of national export control regimes on conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies.[53][54] It is the successor to the Coordinating Committee on Multilateral Export Control (COCOM), which coordinated western restrictions on trade with communist states during the Cold War.[55] In December 2013, the list of export restricted technologies would be amended to include internet-based surveillance systems.[56]
Wassenaar Arrangement members map.svg
1996 September 24 Nuclear security Treaty The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is signed. Since then, it would become one of the most adhered to arms control instruments in the world. The Treaty bans all nuclear explosions in any environment. As of 2017, 183 countries would have signed the CTBT, with 166 of these having set their commitment to that principal in stone through ratification.[31]:167 "The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty outlawing nuclear explosions is opened for signature. The treaty has yet to enter into force because not all of the requisite states, including China, India, Pakistan, and the United States, have ratified it."[2]
1997 January Organization The International Nuclear Regulators' Association is established.[57]
1997 May 15 Nuclear security "The IAEA adopts the Model Additional Protocol, a voluntary safeguards agreement for a state to give the agency greater powers to verify that illegal nuclear weapons-related activities are not taking place inside that state. The protocol was developed in response to Iraq’s and North Korea’s illicit actions under the treaty. May 11 & 13, 1998: India conducts nuclear tests for the second time."[2]
1997 Alexander L. George (1997) - For combining theory with history to elucidate the requirements of deterrence, the limits to coercive diplomacy, and the relationship between force and statecraft.
1998 January United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs
1998 May 28 Nuclear weapon program Nuclear test Pakistan, a nonsignatory to the NPT but a non-nuclear-weapon state by the treaty’s terms, conducts its first set of nuclear test explosions.[2] Pakistan
1998 June 3 milw0rm India
1998 June New Agenda Coalition Brazil, Egypt, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa
1999 May 25 Cox Report
2000 February 2 Organization The Strategic Plans Division Force is established.[58] Pakistan
2000 May 22 "The NPT states-parties agree to a 2000 review conference final document that outlines the so-called 13 Steps for progress toward nuclear disarmament, including an “unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals."[2]
2000 Philip E. Tetlock For successfully developing a semantic measure of cognitive complexity predictive of foreign policy decisions and for applying psychological analysis and knowledge to nuclear policy problems.
2000 Nuclear security Organization The National Nuclear Security Administration is established by the United States Congress.[59] United States
2000 Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement
2000 Nuclear security 13 steps[60]
2001 Organization The Pakistan Nuclear Regulatory Authority is formed.[61] Pakistan
2001 Nuclear power program Organization The World Nuclear Association is established.[62]
2001 Nuclear security Organization The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency is established.[63] Japan
2001 September 11 Nuclear terrorism Notable case Al-Qaeda considers flying airplanes into nuclear facilities in the United States as part of the September 11 attacks[64][3] United States
2002 May 24 Nuclear disarmament Treaty The Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty is signed as a treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation.[65] Añso known as the Moscow Treaty, it mandates that the United States and Russia reduce their strategic nuclear weapons to between 1,700 and 2,200 warheads by December 31, 2012. The treaty would enter into force on June 1, 2003, and lapse on February 5, 2011, when the New START Treaty enters into force.[66] United States, Russia
2002 August The National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political wing of the terrorist organization Mujahideen-e Khalq (MeK), holds a press conference and declares Iran has built nuclear facilities near Natanz and Arak.[16][67] Iran
2002 November Organization The International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (also known as the Hague Code of Conduct (HCOC)) is established as an arrangement to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missiles.[68]
Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation.png
2003 January 11 North Korea announces its withdrawal from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.[69] Not all states, however, recognize the legality of this withdrawal from the treaty.[16] North Korea
2003 June 6 "The IAEA issues a report detailing Iranian clandestine nuclear activities that Tehran failed to report to the agency, in violation of its safeguards agreement."[2]
2003 "Gaddhafi decommissioned his country’s nuclear weapons program."[30] Lybia
2003 Project on Nuclear Issues
2003 Walter Enders and Todd Sandler "For their joint work on transnational terrorism using game theory and time series analysis to document the cyclic and shifting nature of terrorist attacks in response to defensive counteractions."
2003 August "In August 2003, in response to North Korea’s withdrawal from the NPT, Russia, China, Japan, the United States, and the two Koreas launched a multilateral diplomatic process, known as the six-party talks.

In September 2005, the six-party talks realized its first major success with the adoption of a joint statement in which North Korea pledged to abandon its nuclear weapons activities and return to the NPT in return for security assurances and energy assistance. In building on the 2005 statement, North Korea took steps such as disabling its plutonium reactor at Yongbyon in 2007 and allowing IAEA inspectors into the country. In return, North Korea received fuel oil. North Korea declared it would no longer be bound by agreements made under the six party talks in April 2009 after a period of increased tensions."[50]

2003 September "September 12, 2003: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors adopts a resolution calling for Iran to suspend all enrichment – and reprocessing- related activities. The resolution requires Iran to declare all material relevant to its uranium-enrichment program and allow IAEA inspectors to conduct environmental sampling at any location. The resolution requires Iran to meet its conditions by October 31st 2003. Iran agrees to meet IAEA demands by the October 31st deadline. In a deal struck between Iran and European foreign ministers, Iran agrees to suspend its uranium–enrichment activities and ratify an additional protocol requiring Iran to provide an expanded declaration of its nuclear activities and granting the IAEA broader rights of access to sites in the country."[16] Iran
2003 December 19 Libya announces that it will dismantle its weapon of mass destruction programs, including a secret nuclear weapons program, and agrees to International Atomic Energy Agency inspections and adherence to an additional protocol.[2] Libya
2004 January Nuclear espionage Notable case Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan confesses to selling restricted technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea.
2004 April 24 United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540
2004 "nuclear terrorism expert Graham Allison bet some of his colleagues that terrorists would explode a nuclear bomb somewhere in the world by 2014. As he wrote afterward, “I was happy to lose those bets.”"[70][30]
2005 February 27 "Russia and Iran conclude a nuclear fuel supply agreement in which Russia would provide fuel for the Bushehr reactor it is constructing and Iran would return the spent nuclear fuel to Russia. The arrangement is aimed at preventing Iran from extracting plutonium for nuclear weapons from the spent nuclear fuel."[16] Iran, Russia
2005 April 1 Organization The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is established.[71]
2005 April 1 Nuclear security Organization The Civil Nuclear Constabulary is established.[72] United Kingdom
2005 April 15 Nuclear security Organization Domestic Nuclear Detection Office United States
2005 August 8 "Iran begins producing uranium hexafluoride at its Isfahan facility. As a result, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom halt negotiations with Tehran. September 24, 2005: The IAEA adopts a resolution finding Iran in noncompliance with its safeguards agreement by a vote of 22-1 with 12 members abstaining. The resolution says that the nature of Iran’s nuclear activities and the lack of assurance in their peaceful nature fall under the purview of the UN Security Council, paving the way for a future referral."[16] Iran
2005 September 17 Nuclear Terrorism Convention is signed. Effective 7 July 2007
2005 September 19 Nuclear security Commitment North Korea commits to abandoning its nuclear weapons and programs and returning to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards in an agreement of the six-party talks on North Korean denuclearization.[2] North Korea
2006 April 11 "Iran announces that it has enriched uranium for the first time. The uranium enriched to about 3.5 percent was produced at the Natanz pilot enrichment plant. June 6, 2006: China, France, Germany, Russia the United Kingdom, and the United Sates (the P5+1, referring to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) propose a framework agreement to Iran offering incentives for Iran to halt its enrichment program for an indefinite period of time. July 31, 2006: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1696, making the IAEA’s calls for Iran to suspend enrichment –related and reprocessing activities legally binding for the first time. August 22, 2006: Iran delivers a response to the P5+1 proposal, rejecting the requirement to suspend enrichment but declaring that the package contained “elements which may be useful for a constructive approach.” December 23, 2006: The UN Security Council unanimously adopts Resolution 1737, imposing sanctions on Iran for its failure to suspend its enrichment-related activities. The sanctions prohibit countries from transferring sensitive nuclear- and missile-related technology to Iran and require that all countries freeze the assets of ten Iranian organizations and twelve individuals for their involvement in Iran’s nuclear and missile programs."[16] Iran
2006 June 13 Organization The Autorité de sûreté nucléaire is etablished.[73]
2006 Robert Jervis "For showing, scientifically and in policy terms, how cognitive psychology, politically contextualized, can illuminate strategies for the avoidance of nuclear war."
2006 Nuclear security Treaty The countries of Central Asia established a NWFZ
2006 The International Panel on Fissile Materials is established.
2006 July 16 Nuclear security Program launch Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin jointly announce the organization of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT).[74] United States, Russia
2006 October 9 Nuclear weapon program Nuclear test North Korea conducts its first nuclear test with an estimated yield of about one kiloton.[50] North Korea
2007 Notable case An armed attack on the Pelindaba nuclear facility in South Africa occurs when four armed men break in and head towards a control room in the eastern block, and manage to deactivate several layers of security, including a 10,000-volt electrical fence, suggesting insider knowledge of the system.[75][76] This incident highlights that even single points have security weaknesses and can be subject to concerted attacks.[3] South Africa
2007 Nuclear security Organization International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
2007 September State program Notable case Israel destroys a nuclear reactor under construction in Syria. The facility was not under IAEA safeguards and it is unclear whether its purpose was military or civilian.[3] Israel, Syria
2008 Research According to Hastings, when smuggling goods, illicit nonstate actors face a trade-off between the security and efficiency of the route.[3]
2008 Nuclear security Organization The World Institute for Nuclear Security is founded.[77]
2008 July 9 International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament is established.
2008 December Global Zero (campaign)
2009 February 3 Iran announces that having successfully carried out its first satellite launch, raising international concerns that the country's ballistic missile potential is growing.[16] Iran
2009 April 14 "North Korea Walks Out of Six Party Talks Negotiations among China, Japan, North Korea, Russia, South Korea, and the United States to find a peaceful resolution to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program fell apart after the UN Security Council condemned a North Korean test launch of a rocket, which it had disguised as part of its civilian space program. The negotiations, known as the Six Party Talks, had lasted six years but failed to reach a resolution. North Korea remains one of the most unstable nuclear powers today."
2009 State program Nuclear cooperation The United States and South Africa sign an agreement on cooperation on nuclear energy research and development related to pebble bed modular reactor and Generation IV technologies that do not include a conditionality clause.[3] United States, South Africa
2009 Graham Allison - "For illuminating alternative ways of thinking about political decision making with special relevance to crises, including nuclear crises, as demonstrated in his groundbreaking Essence of Decision and subsequent works."
2009 June 25 Nuclear weapon program Nuclear test North Korea conducts its second nuclear test, an underground nuclear weapons testing estimated to have a yield of 2 to 6 kilotons.[50] North Korea
2009 State program The Obama administration mothballs the permanent disposal site of Yucca Mountain by reducing funding of the site to almost negligible levels.[78][3] United States
2009 September 24 The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1887 is adopted unanimously by the Security Council on nuclear issues.[2]
2009 October Top Level Group
2009 December 2 International Day against Nuclear Tests
2010 April 8 Nuclear disarmament Treaty New START is signed.[79]
2010 April 12–13 2010 Nuclear Security Summit
2010 April 17–18 Tehran International Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
2010 May 3–28 2010 NPT Review Conference
2010 June 9 "June 9, 2010: The UN Security Council adopts Resolution 1929, significantly expanding sanctions against Iran. In addition to tightening proliferation-related sanctions and banning Iran from carrying out nuclear-capable ballistic missile tests, the resolution imposes an arms embargo on the transfer of major weapons systems to Iran. June 24, 2010: Congress adopts the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act; tightening U.S. sanctions against firms investing in Iran’s energy sector, extending those sanctions until 2016, and imposing new sanctions on companies that sell refined petroleum to Iran. July 26, 2010: The EU agrees to further sanctions against Iran. A statement issued by EU member state foreign ministers refers to the new sanctions as “a comprehensive and robust package of measures in the areas of trade, financial services, energy, [and] transport, as well as additional designations for [a] visa ban and asset freeze."[16] Iran
2010 September 16 The malicious computer worm Stuxnet computer virus is first identified by a security expert as a directed attack against an Iranian nuclear-related facility, likely to be an enrichment plant in Natanz.[16] Although neither country would openly admit responsibility, the worm is widely understood to be a cyberweapon built jointly by the United States and Israel in a collaborative effort known as Operation Olympic Games.[80][81][82] Iran
2010 November "In November 2010, North Korea unveiled a large uranium-enrichment plant to former officials and academics from the United States. The Yongbyon plant contained approximately 2,000 gas centrifuges that were claimed to be operating and producing low-enriched uranium (LEU) for a light-water reactor (LWR) that North Korea is constructing. This plant is estimated to be capable of producing two metric tons of LEU each year, enough to fuel the LWR reactor under construction, or to produce 40 kg of highly-enriched uranium (HEU), enough for one to two nuclear weapons. As of January 2018, North Korea is estimated to possess 250-500 kg of uranium."[50] North Korea
2011 April 20 United Nations Security Council Resolution 1977
2011 May 8 "Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant begins operations and successfully achieves a sustained chain reaction two days later, according to Atomstroyexport, the Russian state-owned company constructing and operating the plant."[16] Iran
2011 Organization The Office for Nuclear Regulation is established.[83] It is the UK's independent nuclear regulator, with the mission to protect society by securing safe nuclear operations.[84] United Kingdom
2012 March 26–27 2012 Nuclear Security Summit
2012 April "KN-08 (Hwasong-13): The KN-08 is an intercontinental ballistic missile under development with an estimated range of 5,500-11,500km. Given that the system has not been tested, however, the range estimates are highly speculative. It was first unveiled in April 2012 and has not yet been tested, although North Korea likely tested the rocket engine for this system."[50] North Korea
2012 June 29 United Nations Security Council Resolution 2055 is adopted.
2012 Robert Powell (2012) - "For sophisticated game theoretic models of conflict that illuminate the heart of the strategic dilemmas of nuclear deterrence, including the importance of private information."
2012 November North Korea allegedly attempts to sell graphite rods to Syria.[50] North Korea, Syria
2013 February 12 "On February 12, 2013, the Korean Central News Agency announced that North Korea successfully detonated a nuclear device at its underground test site. The explosive yield was estimated at approximately 15 kilotons. North Korea claimed the device was ‘miniaturized’, a term commonly used to refer to a warhead light enough to fit on the tip of a ballistic missile."[50] North Korea
2013 April "North Korea announced its intention to restart its Yongbyon 5MWe Reactor for plutonium production in April 2013, after disabling it as a part of the six-party talks in 2007. North Korea declared the site to be “fully operational” by late August 2015.

The reactor is capable of producing six kg of weapons-grade plutonium each year. Satellite imagery from April 2016, January 2017, and April 2018 confirmed increased activity at the reprocessing site. As of January 2018, North Korea is estimated to possess 20-40 kg of plutonium."[50] || North Korea

2015 "Scott D. Sagan (2015) - For his pioneering theoretical and empirical work addressing the risks of nuclear possession and deployment and the causes of nuclear proliferation."
2015 July 14 The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal) is created. "World Powers Reach a Nuclear Agreement With Iran In 2002, U.S. officials claimed that Iran had embarked on a nuclear weapons program. U.S. researchers published satellite photographs of what they identified as a large uranium enrichment plant and a heavy water plant, crucial equipment in the production of nuclear weapons. The United States and its allies asserted that Iran intended to build a nuclear weapon, despite the country’s denials and the IAEA’s statement that Iran had not violated its commitments. In 2015, the United States, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union reached a nuclear agreement with Iran after years of negotiation, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). After Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program and subject its nuclear facilities to much stricter monitoring than ordinary International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, the United States and others relaxed sanctions on Iran’s economy. But in 2018, U.S. President Donald J. Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran." "In 2015, Iran agreed to a deal with the European Union and five permanent members of the UN Security Council. In exchange for sanctions being lifted, Iran agreed to limit its enrichment program, and accept international monitoring."[30] Iran
2015 December 28 "Iran announces that it shipped 8.5 tonnes of low-enriched uranium, including the 20 percent enriched material in scrap and waste, out of the country to Russia. In return, Iran receives 140 tonnes of uranium yellowcake."[16] Iran
2016 January 6 "On January 6, 2016, Pyongyang announced its fourth nuclear test, declaring that it was a test of the hydrogen bomb design. The explosive yield was estimated at 15-20 kilotons. Experts doubt that the test was a hydrogen bomb, but contend that the test could have used boosted fission, a process that uses lithium gas to increase the efficiency of the fission reaction for a larger explosion."[50] North Korea
2016 February "A February 2016 Congressional report confirmed that both Syria and Iran have received missile technology from North Korea. While Syria has also engaged in nuclear technology cooperation with North Korea, the report found no evidence that Iran has done so. Pyongyang is widely believed to have provided missile cooperation to Burma."[50] North Korea
2016 March 9 Iran test launches two different variations of the Qadr medium-range ballistic missile.[16] Iran
2016 March 31–April 1 2016 Nuclear Security Summit
2016 September 9 North Korea conducts its fifth nuclear test, with an estimated explosive yield of 20-25 kilotons.[50] North Korea
2017 January 28 "Iran test fires a medium-range ballistic missile, in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231. The test prompts former NSA Michael Flynn, on February 1, to declare the United States has placed Iran “on notice.”"[16] Iran
2017 July 7 "At the United Nations, 122 countries adopted the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, the first legally binding treaty for nuclear disarmament in twenty years."
2017 September 3 North Korea conducts its sixth nuclear test explosion, and declares being a hydrogen bomb. South Korea’s weather agency estimates the nuclear blast yield being between 50 and 60 kilotons, or five to six times stronger than North Korea’s fifth test in September 2016.[50][85] North Korea
2017 September 20 Treaty Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons[86]
2017 September 22 Missile program Iran parades its new medium-range ballistic missile Khoramshahr, tested in January, with a range of about 2,000 km.[16] Iran
2018 April 20 "On April 20, 2018, Kim Jong-Un announced that North Korea would end all testing of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles and close the Punggye-ri nuclear test site" "April 2018 Inter-Korean Summit On April 27, 2018, Kim Jong Un and President Moon Jae-in met in Panmunjom for a high level summit, where they discussed issues such as denuclearization and a settlement to end the Korean War.A joint declaration signed by both parties included agreements to facilitate "groundbreaking advancement" in inter-Korean relations, "to make joint efforts to practically eliminate the danger of war on the Korean peninsula," and to cooperate to "establish a permanent peace regime on the Korean peninsula."[50] North Korea
2018 June 12 "On June 12, 2018, Kim Jong Un and President Trump met in Singapore for high level talks that focused on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and improved bilateral relations.

The two leaders signed a joint statement agreeing to "establish new US-DPRK relations," "build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean peninsula" and recover POW/MIA remains. Kim also committed to "work toward complete denuclearization on the Korean peninsula" and Trump committed to provide security guarantees for North Korea." || North Korea

2019 June Nuclear weapon program Nuclear arsenal As of date, North Korea is estimated to have 20-30 warheads, and the fissile material for an estimated 30-60 nuclear weapons.[50] North Korea
2018 "Etel Solingen (2018) - For providing the first systematic analysis in contemporary international relations connecting political economy, globalization, and nuclear choices on the one hand with domestic politics and nuclear behavior on the other. Her theoretical and empirical contributions have left an indelible impact on work within the academy and on broader public understanding of nuclear war."
2020 November 27 "November 27, 2020: Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is assassinated near Tehran. November 28, 2020: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani suggests that Israel is behind the assassination of Fakhrizadeh."[16] Iran
2020 December 18 "December 18, 2020: Satellite imagery reveals that Iran has begun construction at the underground Fordow enrichment facility. The design and purpose of the new construction remains unclear."[16] Iran
2021 Nuclear disarmament United States–Russia Strategic Stability Dialogue[87][88]
2022 January 3 Joint Statement of the Leaders of the Five Nuclear-Weapon States on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Races.

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

Base literature

  • The Nuclear Renaissance and International Security, by Adam N. Stulberg and Matthew Fuhrmann.[3]
  • Nuclear Deviance: Stigma Politics and the Rules of the Nonproliferation Gameby Michal Smetana,[1]
  • International Cooperation for Enhancing Nuclear Safety, Security, Safeguards and Non-proliferation–60 Years of IAEA and EURATOM, by Luciano Maiani, Said Abousahl, and Wolfango Plastino.[31]

The initial version of the timeline was written by Sebastian.

Funding information for this timeline is available.

Feedback and comments

Feedback for the timeline can be provided at the following places:


What the timeline is still missing

Timeline update strategy

See also

External links


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