Saturday, August 30, 2008

China's Nuclear Bomb History -- A Review

(Click To Enlarge)
Locations of early nuclear facilities in China. Atom symbols mark research and production facilities.
The test site is marked with a mushroom cloud.

The Chinese Nuclear Tests, 1964–1996 -- Physics Today

A combination of intellectual rigor, technical sophistication, hard work, and intelligence gathering brought China into the world's nuclear club in record-shattering time.

The visitors from China seemed innocuous enough. The five of them had flown in from Beijing to attend the 1989 American Physical Society Conference on Shock Waves in Condensed Matter in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Danny Stillman, director of the technical intelligence division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, met the visitors' plane, took care of their transportation and food needs, and escorted them through the National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque. All five visitors seemed to be jolly academic tourists, but appearances can be—and in this case were—deceptive. In the next year or two, all five were revealed to be top scientists in the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics, the equivalent of the combined US nuclear weapons laboratories at Los Alamos, Livermore, and Sandia. Those visitors from China were scouting the American turf.

Read more ....

Update: China gave Pakistan the blueprint for an atomic bomb, testing the finished product in 1990 -- USA Today

My Comment: The reason why China helped their ally Pakistan during this time was to target their mutual enemy .... India.

As for the article from Physics Today, it is a good summary of China's nuclear bomb program. What strikes me is that they were able to complete their H-bomb tests during the Cultural Revolution, a time in which all scientists were targeted for punishment.

No comments: