|Nuclear program start date||1967|
|First nuclear weapon test||
Possible, 22 September 1979|
(See Vela Incident)
|First fusion weapon test||Unknown|
|Last nuclear test||Unknown|
|Largest yield test||Unknown|
|Current stockpile||None; the programme was voluntarily dismantled in 1989.|
|Maximum missile range||1,300 kilometres (810 mi) (English Electric Canberra)|
From the 1960s to the 1980s, South Africa pursued research into weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. Six nuclear weapons were assembled. Before the anticipated changeover to a majority-elected African National Congress government in the 1990s, the South African government dismantled all of its nuclear weapons, the first nation in the world which voluntarily gave up all nuclear arms it had developed itself.
|Weapons of mass destruction|
|“||Although I was not directly involved in planning or carrying out the operation, I learned unofficially that the flash was produced by an Israeli-South African test code-named Operation Phoenix. The explosion was clean and was not supposed to be detected. But they were not as smart as they thought, and the weather changed – so the Americans were able to pick it up.||”|
In 2010, The Guardian released South African government documents that it alleged confirmed the existence of Israel's nuclear arsenal. According to The Guardian, the documents were associated with an Israeli offer to sell South Africa nuclear weapons in 1975. Israel categorically denied these allegations and said that the documents do not indicate any offer for a sale of nuclear weapons. Israeli President Shimon Peres said that The Guardian article was based on "selective interpretation... and not on concrete facts." Avner Cohen, author of Israel and the Bomb and the forthcoming The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel's Bargain with the Bomb, said "Nothing in the documents suggests there was an actual offer by Israel to sell nuclear weapons to the regime in Pretoria."
South African forces feared the threat of a "domino effect" in favour of communism, represented in southern Africa by Cuban proxy forces in Angola and threatening Namibia. In 1988 South Africa signed the Tripartite Accord with Cuba and Angola, which led to the withdrawal of South African and Cuban troops from Angola and independence for Namibia. The pre-emptive elimination of nuclear weapons was expected to make a significant contribution toward regional stability and peace, and also to help restore South Africa's credibility in regional and international politics.
South Africa ended its nuclear weapons programme in 1989. All the bombs (six constructed and one under construction) were dismantled and South Africa acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons when South African Ambassador to the United States Harry Schwarz signed the treaty in 1991. On 19 August 1994, after completing its inspection, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that one partially completed and six fully completed nuclear weapons had been dismantled. As a result, the IAEA was satisfied that South Africa's nuclear programme had been converted to peaceful applications. Following this, South Africa joined the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as a full member on 5 April 1995. South Africa played a leading role in the establishment of the African Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Treaty (also referred to as the Treaty of Pelindaba) in 1996, becoming one of the first members in 1997. South Africa also signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in 1996 and ratified it in 1999.
The Treaty of Pelindaba came into effect on 15 July 2009 once it had been ratified by 28 countries. This treaty requires that parties will not engage in the research, development, manufacture, stockpiling acquisition, testing, possession, control or stationing of nuclear explosive devices in the territory of parties to the treaty and the dumping of radioactive wastes in the African zone by treaty parties. The African Commission on Nuclear Energy, in order to verify compliance with the treaty, has been established and will be headquartered in South Africa.
|1950s and 1960s||Scientific work on the feasibility of peaceful nuclear explosives and support to nuclear power production efforts|
|1969||Atomic Energy Board forms group to evaluate technical and economic aspects of nuclear explosives|
|1970||Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) releases report identifying uses for nuclear explosives|
|1971||R&D approval granted for "peaceful use of nuclear explosives"|
|1973||AEC prioritises work on a gun-type design|
|1974||Work on a nuclear device and the Vastrap test site are authorised|
|1977||AEC completes bomb assembly for "cold" test|
|1978||First HEU produced; Armscor assumes control of weapons programme|
|1979||Vela Incident; First bomb with HEU core produced by AEC|
|1982||First deliverable bomb built; work on weapons safety|
|1985||Three-phase nuclear strategy reviewed|
|1987||First production bomb built; seven produced, with an eighth under construction|
|1988||Armscor prepares Vastrap for a nuclear test|
|1989||Nuclear weapons dismantled|
|1991||Accedes to NPT|
Biological and chemical weaponsEdit
In October 1998, the report of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission included a chapter on Project Coast, a clandestine government chemical and biological warfare program conducted during the 1980s and 1990s. Project Coast started in 1983, ostensibly to produce equipment for defensive purposes, including masks and protective suits. Despite vehement assertions to the contrary, some testimony appeared to show that the programme went well beyond defensive purposes.
- African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty
- History of biological warfare
- Helikon vortex separation process
- Military history of South Africa
- Nuclear weapons and Israel
- South African Border War
- Overberg Test Range
- Cold War
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Executive release. "South African nuclear bomb". Nuclear Threat Initiatives. Nuclear Threat Initiatives, South Africa (NTI South Africa). http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/south-africa/nuclear/. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
- ↑ John Pike. "Nuclear Weapons Program – South Africa". Globalsecurity.org. http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/rsa/nuke.htm. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Chaudhry, PhD (Political science), M.A.. "Separating Myth from Reality§ The Uranium Enrichment programme: Building Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL)". Professor Mohammad Ali Chaudhry (professor of Political Science). M.A. Chaudhry's article published at the The Nation, 1999. http://owlstree.blogspot.com/2006/06/pakistani-nuclear-program-2-5.html. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
- ↑ "South Africa: Nuclear Case Closed?" (PDF). National Security Archive. 19 December 1993. http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB181/sa34.pdf. Retrieved 26 August 2008.
- ↑ U.S. Military Involvement in Southern Africa. South End Press. 1978. ISBN 0-89608-041-2. http://books.google.com/books?id=nQGSAAAAIAAJ.
- ↑ "South Africa and the Affordable Bomb". p. 41. http://books.google.com.au/books?id=VAwAAAAAMBAJ.
- ↑ Frank V. Pabian. "South Africa’s Nuclear Weapon Program: Lessons For U.S. Non Proliferation Policy". James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. p. 8. http://cns.miis.edu/npr/pdfs/31pabian.pdf. Retrieved 8 December 2008.
- ↑ http://books.google.com/books?id=M7wIryQK6UkC&pg=PA10
- ↑ http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5942:book-review-how-sa-built-six-atom-bombs-&catid=57:Book%20Reviews&Itemid=141
- ↑ Jericho
- ↑ Chris McGreal (7 February 2006). "Brothers in arms — Israel's secret pact with Pretoria". The Guardian. London. http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1704037,00.html.
- ↑ South Africa and the affordable bomb (David Albright) "South Africa and the affordable bomb". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. August 1994. http://books.google.com/books?id=VAwAAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA37&dq South Africa and the affordable bomb (David Albright).
- ↑ Unknown author. "RSA Nuclear Weapons Program". Federation of American Scientists. http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/rsa/nuke/.
- ↑ "UNSCR 418 of 4 November 1977: States should refrain from "any co-operation with South Africa in the manufacture and development of nuclear weapons"". United Nations. http://www.un.org/documents/sc/res/1977/scres77.htm. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- ↑ "South Africa: Missile". Nuclear Threat Initiative. November 2011. http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/south-africa/delivery-systems/.
- ↑ "P.W. Botha felt Israel had betrayed him". Jerusalem Post. 2 November 2006. http://fr.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1162378307806&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull. Retrieved 2 November 2006.
- ↑ "Aziz Pahad's statement and retraction discussed here". Nuclearweaponarchive.org. http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Safrica/Vela.html. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
- ↑ South Africa and the affordable bomb, David Albright, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Jul 1994, pp 37.
- ↑ Proliferation: A flash from the past David Albright, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Nov 1997, pp. 15
- ↑ "Tracking Nuclear Proliferation". PBS Newshour. 2 May 2005. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/indepth_coverage/military/proliferation/countries/s-africa.html.
- ↑ McGreal, Chris (24 May 2010). "Revealed: how Israel offered to sell South Africa nuclear weapons". The Guardian. UK. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/23/israel-south-africa-nuclear-weapons. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
- ↑ McGreal, Chris (24 May 2010). "The memos and minutes that confirm Israel's nuclear stockpile". The Guardian. UK. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/23/israel-south-africa-nuclear-documents. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
- ↑ Kershner, Isabel (24 May 2010). "Israel Denies It Offered South Africa Warheads". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/world/middleeast/25israel.html.
- ↑ "Avner Cohen: Yitzhak Rabin would have opposed sale of nuclear weapons". The Independent. London. 25 May 2010. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/avner-cohen-yitzhak-rabin-would-have-opposed-sale-of-nuclear-weapons-1981962.html.
- ↑ disarmament.un.org - Pelindaba Treaty - View chronological order by deposit
- ↑ "African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty". Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa. http://www.dfa.gov.za/foreign/Multilateral/africa/treaties/anwfz.htm. Retrieved 2006-07-28.
- ↑ Roy E. Horton, USAF Institute for National Security Studies (1999). Out of (South) Africa: Pretoria's Nuclear Weapons Experience. Dianne Publishing. p. 17. http://books.google.com/books?id=M7wIryQK6UkC&pg=PA17.
- Joseph Cirincione, Jon B. Wolfsthal, Miriam Rajkumar. Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Threats. Washington D.C.: Carnegie Endowment For International Peace, 2005.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nuclear weapons program of South Africa.|
- Birth and Death of the South African Nuclear Weapons Programme, Waldo Stumpf, Atomic Energy Corporation of South Africa, October 1995
- South Africa and the nuclear option, Marcus Duvenhage, 1998
- Out of South Africa: Pretoria’s Nuclear Weapons Experience (in pdf), Lt. Col. Roy E. Horton, ACDIS Occasional Paper, Program in Arms Control, Disarmament, and International Security, University of Illinois, August 2000
- Out of (South) Africa: Pretoria’s Nuclear Weapons Experience, Roy E. Horton, USAF Institute for National Security Studies, August 1999
- Nuclear Files.org guide to proliferation – South Africa
- The Nuclear Weapon Archive account of South Africa
- Israel conducted nuclear experiment in 1979
- South Africa's Nuclear Autopsy: The Risk Report, Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, 1996
- Nuclear verification in South Africa, Adolf von Baeckmann, Gary Dillon and Demetrius Perricos, IAEA Bulletin Volume 37 Number 1
- Annotated bibliography for the South African Nuclear Program from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues
- South Africa's Nuclear Weapons Storage Vault
- Israel and the South African Bomb
- The Woodrow Wilson Center's Nuclear Proliferation International History Project The Wilson Center's Nuclear Proliferation International History Project conatins primary source material on South Africa's nuclear weapons program.
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