Magazine article Arms Control Today

The Bomb: South Africa's Nuclear Weapons Programme

Magazine article Arms Control Today

The Bomb: South Africa's Nuclear Weapons Programme

Article excerpt

The Bomb: South Africa's Nuclear Weapons Programme Nic von Wielligh and Lydia von Wielligh-Steyn, Litera Publications, 2015, 576 pp.

In this wide-ranging, sometimes personal account, a key scientist involved in South Africa's nuclear program, Nic von Wielligh, and his daughter, Lydia von Wielligh-Steyn, review key developments in the global history of nuclear energy and proliferation with a particular focus on South Africa's nuclear program from its origins in the 1950s to dismantlement of the weapons program during the 1990s. The book provides insider details on the workings and scope of South Africa's apartheid-era nuclear weapons program, its ballistic missile program, its alleged role in a suspected 1979 atmospheric nuclear detonation, and the role of South Africans in the illicit proliferation network of Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan. Von Wielligh, a physicist who began work on the South African uranium-enrichment program in 1975, became a key figure in the program at the time of South Africa's accession to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1991. …

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