Release Of U.S. Historical Documents Delayed Due To Iran Nuke Talks

The State Department has blocked the release of declassified documents about the CIA's role in the 1953 coup that overthrew Iran's democratically elected prime minister, due to the ongoing negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program. But some historians think this is a dumb decision, that could actually backfire. » 12/19/14 11:35am 12/19/14 11:35am

In 1945, Scientists Calculated How Many Nukes Could Destroy The World

A newly declassified document obtained by a nuclear historian reveals that the Manhattan Project scientists who designed and detonated the first atomic bomb estimated that 10 to 100 enhanced "superbombs" would produce enough atmospheric radiation to wipe out the human race. » 12/17/14 10:20am 12/17/14 10:20am

The Pope Says Nuclear Deterrence Is No Longer A Justifiable Doctrine

Although the Catholic Church has always opposed nuclear weapons, the Vatican reluctantly acknowledged during the Cold War that mutual assured destruction was the best-worst option for averting catastrophe. Today, a dramatic declaration from Pope Francis reversed that position. » 12/08/14 1:40pm 12/08/14 1:40pm

New Report Says Federal Agents Who Transport Nukes Have Anger Issues

The U.S. nuclear weapons program has been plagued by failings such as misplaced weapons, drug abuse and a cheating scandal. And now, the Energy Department's Office of the Inspector General tells us, some federal employees who transport these weapons have engaged in "unsuitable behavior" such as "uncontrolled anger." » 12/01/14 12:20pm 12/01/14 12:20pm

No, Iran Is Not An Apocalyptic Nuclear Cult

Yesterday, negotiations over Iran's nuclear program failed to meet the deadline. Talks have been extended, but already an emerging chorus of "I told you so" says that it's pointless to negotiate with a fanatical religious regime that views nuclear war as holy martyrdom. It's time to put this myth to rest. » 11/25/14 10:22am 11/25/14 10:22am

​How One Soviet Submarine Commander Averted World War III

On October 27, 1962, the captain of a Soviet submarine ordered a torpedo with a ten-kiloton nuclear warhead to be launched at a U.S. aircraft carrier. One man's decision prevented that order from being carried out—and his story is a cautionary tale about what could still happen in today's world. » 11/04/14 1:40pm 11/04/14 1:40pm

Though It Seems Crazy Now, the Neutron Bomb Was Intended to Be Humane

Until the day he died, physicist Samuel Cohen declared that his invention, the neutron bomb, was a "moral" and "sane" weapon that would kill enemy combatants, while sparing civilians and cities. But, despite the support of fans like Ronald Reagan, this weapon of not-as-much mass destruction proved to be a hard sell. » 9/19/14 11:00am 9/19/14 11:00am

Scientists Are Studying Radiation Exposure From The 1945 Trinity Blast

Better late than never? Nearly 70 years after the Manhattan Project conducted the world's first atomic bomb test, the National Cancer Institute will soon begin a new investigation into the effects of the radioactive fallout on communities in New Mexico. » 9/16/14 10:58am 9/16/14 10:58am

Nukes Are Cannibalizing The U.S. Defense Budget

The Cold War is over, but you wouldn't know it looking at the current defense budget. The U.S. is spending hundreds of billions on new weapons systems to modernize its nuclear triad—and the Defense Department won't be able to pay for it without deeper cuts in conventional forces. » 9/08/14 11:34am 9/08/14 11:34am

British Police Investigate A Programmer Developing A Nuclear War Game

Henry Smith, a software engineer from Bristol, has been working on a game called — wait for it, 1980s movie fans — "Global Thermonuclear War." He was drawing concepts on a whiteboard, which proved to be unfortunate, since someone mistook it for a plan to nuke Washington, D.C. » 8/28/14 9:40am 8/28/14 9:40am

Secrets of the Manhattan Project Leaked 1500 Times During World War II

The World War II program to develop an atomic bomb was the largest secret project ever undertaken by the U.S. government. But newly-declassified documents reveal how it hard it was to keep things secret as the weapon neared completion. Information leaks were everywhere, even in church sermons. » 8/25/14 11:20am 8/25/14 11:20am

Which Lucky State Will Get a Useless $4 Billion Defense System?

At the urging of Congress, military officials have begun considering East Coast sites for an anti-ballistic missile system that doesn't work and the Pentagon doesn't want. But members of Congress can't let such details stand in the way. Now states are vying to score the $4 billion allocated for this dubious effort. » 8/21/14 8:15am 8/21/14 8:15am

Federal Employee Gets Fired After Writing An Article Criticizing Nukes

For 17 years, James Doyle was a nuclear policy specialist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Then he wrote an article that made the case for getting rid of nuclear weapons. After that, his computer was seized, he was accused of releasing classified information, and then he was fired. What happened? » 8/01/14 12:00pm 8/01/14 12:00pm

NASA Is Making Nukes More Expensive

When NASA terminated the space shuttle program, it also deprived solid fuel manufacturers of their main customer. The result is a massive spike in propellant prices, which is increasing the cost of the U.S.-UK Trident nuclear program. » 7/16/14 4:30pm 7/16/14 4:30pm

​The Real Reason the Pentagon Has Downgraded the Iran Missile Threat

An unclassified excerpt of a Defense Department document reveals a subtle, but significant, change in language, which suggests that Iran's intercontinental ballistic missile technology does not pose an imminent threat to the U.S. » 7/14/14 2:30pm 7/14/14 2:30pm

One of Russia's Last Remaining Early-Warning Satellites Just Died

The Russian Ministry of Defense has announced that its only geostationary early-warning satellite — the Cosmos-2479, launched two years ago — is no longer functioning. With just two other observation satellites left in orbit, the chances of a false-alarm nuclear attack just escalated. » 6/25/14 12:00pm 6/25/14 12:00pm

Congress Won't Decommission Nuke Silos, Which Is Dumb And Dangerous

The closure of military bases is fraught with political peril, since they pump millions of dollars into state economies. So, when members of Congress learned that the reduction of 50 nuclear-armed nuclear missiles could shut down Air Force bases, they pushed for a compromise to keep them open. » 6/20/14 1:20pm 6/20/14 1:20pm

NASA's Decisions May Affect The Future Of The U.S. Nuclear Arsenal

If NASA decides to use liquid fuel for its new boosters, it could be a deathblow for domestic solid fuel manufacturing. That worries the Navy, since roughly 70 percent of U.S. nukes will soon be deployed aboard submarines—on missiles that use solid fuel. » 6/16/14 10:43am 6/16/14 10:43am

Extraordinary Photos of Everyday Life in Oak Ridge, the Secret City

Here's a collection of rare historical photos from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a town established by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1942 on an isolated farm. It was a secret location that became one of the most significant sites of the Manhattan Project. » 6/12/14 4:30pm 6/12/14 4:30pm