As we begin a fresh new year, it seems fitting to ponder some past events that set the stage for nuclear weapons in today’s world. Here’s January, in atomic history:
First plutonium reprocessing production run at the Hanford Site in Washington. The site was home to the B Reactor, the first full-scale plutonium production reactor in the world.
Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs, a German-British theoretical physicist and atomic spy, confesses to giving atomic secrets to the USSR.
Photo credit: Truman Presidential Museum and Library
President Harry S. Truman (pictured above) gives the order to proceed with building the H-bomb. The directive is said to have come in response to evidence of an atomic explosion occurring within USSR in 1949.
U.S.S. Nautilus is launched. She is the world’s first operational nuclear-powered submarine.
U.S. B-52 bomber crashes near Palomares, Spain carrying four unarmed H-bombs. Of the four hydrogen bombs, three were found on land near a small fishing village. The non-nuclear explosives in two of the bombs detonated and contaminated a 2-square-kilometer area by radioactive plutonium. The fourth (pictured above) was recovered from the Mediterranean Sea intact after a 2½-month-long search.
Outer Space Treaty is introduced to ban nuclear weapons being placed in orbit.
North Korea announces it will withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Let’s put the past behind us and work for a future without nuclear weapons! You can support nuclear disarmament by signing the Cut Nukes petition.