In 2006, the Department of Energy formally declassified the already widely publicized fact “That the People’s Republic of China obtained some Restricted Data information on the W88 [nuclear] warhead, and perhaps the complete W88 design.”
Then, in a remarkable display of bureaucratic acrobatics, DOE classified the memo that authorized the declassification of that information. The declassification memo was found to merit classification at the Secret/Restricted Data level.
Five years later, in 2011, the two-sentence memo was reviewed for declassification and DOE has now released it.
As often seems to be the case, declassification here lags behind disclosure rather than leading it. For a convenient summary of issues surrounding China and the W88, see China: Suspected Acquisition of U.S. Nuclear Weapon Secrets, Congressional Research Service, updated February 1, 2006.
To empower new voices to start their career in nuclear weapons studies, the Federation of American Scientists launched the New Voices on Nuclear Weapons Fellowship. Here’s what our inaugural cohort accomplished.
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The FAS Nuclear Notebook is one of the most widely sourced reference materials worldwide for reliable information about the status of nuclear weapons and has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by the staff of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project: Director Hans […]
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