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Obama administration releases 1987 assessment of Israel nuclear program

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  • Obama administration releases 1987 assessment of Israel nuclear program

    Full document here:

    http://cryptome.org/2015/03/ida-ctaiiann.pdf

    Only information on Israel has been declassified. Information on NATO nations are redacted.

    Basic assessment is that Israel pretty much copied Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge. Fission weapons capabilities were where the US was in 1955 to 1960. Weapons designs were very conservative. Hydrogen bombs were not yet available. Although Israel was developing computer simulation capabilities using the same sort of codes used by the US, quite a few challenges remained at the time.

    Israel allowed for the release of a document detailing past nuclear weapons work - Israel News - Jerusalem Post

    The document, “Critical Technological Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations,” was written by Leading Technologies Inc. for the Institute for Defense Analyses, and commissioned by the US Department of Defense. Its contents are based on visits by US experts, in coordination with the embassy in Tel Aviv and with the guidance of the Pentagon, to facilities and laboratories across Israel.

    While Israel has never publicly acknowledged having nuclear weapons, foreign sources say it does. Israel is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    This document summarizes in detail Washington’s understanding of the nature and purpose of that program as it stood in the 1980s.

    Two of Israel’s nuclear facilities at the time, the Soreq Nuclear Research Center near Yavne and the Negev Nuclear Research Center in Dimona, “are the equivalent of our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories,” the US document reads.

    “The Soreq center runs the full nuclear gamut of activities from engineering, administration, and nondestructive testing to electro-optics, pulsed power, process engineering and chemistry and nuclear research and safety,” the paper continues.

    “This is the technology base required for nuclear weapons design and fabrication.”

    The report goes on to detail Israel’s experimentation with various nuclear fuels, laserbased nuclear weapons detonation devices and the effects of radiation propagation.

    While the assessment concluded that, at the time, Israel’s weapons design was “extremely conservative,” it said the Jewish state was experimenting with coding “which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs.”

  • #2
    So US violated its own non proliferation treaty by allowing Israelis to copy its nuke designs.

    Comment


    • #3
      If they copied our designs then the designs would not have to be "very conservative". The Israelis could not do enough testing and had to resort to designs that would one hundred percent work by any reasonable extrapolation from basic laws of physics.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by citanon View Post
        If they copied our designs then the designs would not have to be "very conservative". The Israelis could not do enough testing and had to resort to designs that would one hundred percent work by any reasonable extrapolation from basic laws of physics.
        Ergo, they copied from earlier nuke designs. You need testing to validate any nuke design even if you were conservative. Otherwise you have very little confidence in the design.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Blademaster View Post
          Ergo, they copied from earlier nuke designs. You need testing to validate any nuke design even if you were conservative. Otherwise you have very little confidence in the design.
          I had this debate before with the Col, but essentially my POV is that fission weapons are not magic. They are 1930s physics the basics of which are taught to undergraduate physics students at certain US universities and assigned as homework assignments.

          Basically if you are conservative enough you can make something that you know will 100 percent work unless the laws of physics fly out the window. Hence the trinity test worked on the first try, and they dropped Fatman on Japan without even testing the design.

          The most significant barrier to constructing a fission weapon is to extract enough high grade nuclear material, which of course you would know if you've done it. The next step is to have reasonably good machining of the core, which is not hard given modern tooling. Once you conduya subcritical test on the core you'll know if you are in the right track. Finally you will have to get the timing on the explosive lens correctly synchronized, which of course you can also test separately.

          Designing such a weapon that can be dropped from an airplane is no bog deal for a state with the technical capabilities of Israel, and chances are those weapons will look largely similar because of the physics driving the design.

          Getting a compact fusion weapon is something else entirely, which is what they were apparently having trouble with in 1987. Nevertheless the world has moved on. if they have similar subcritical testing capabilities to Livermore and Los Alamos and the same physics codes they could probably design it from scratch today. The complicated part is to actually get the very complicated phase diagrams of nuclear materials needed to go into those codes. That is very highly classified crown jewel information in the US and I would be shocked if we gave that to Israel.
          Last edited by citanon; 01 Apr 15,, 08:22.

          Comment


          • #6
            What is the use of nukes for Israel? Has US kept Israel in its nuclear umbrella?
            Last edited by kuku; 01 Apr 15,, 11:52.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Blademaster View Post
              So US violated its own non proliferation treaty by allowing Israelis to copy its nuke designs.
              Where in the report does it state that?

              Always so quick to assume the worst about the United States aren't you.
              “Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.”
              ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by kuku View Post
                What is the use of nukes for Israel? Has US kept Israel in its nuclear umbrella?
                It's their insurance policy. Israel has a history of being ganged up on by its neighbors, and it doesn't have the population or strategic depth to fight an extended war. Nukes also give them leverage over the other states in the region and make them less dependant on US protection.

                I imagine they would have caved to US pressure regarding treatment of the Palestinians by now if they didn't have their own nuclear deterrent.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Blademaster View Post
                  So US violated its own non proliferation treaty by allowing Israelis to copy its nuke designs.
                  Only in the same sense that the US "allowed" China to copy the F-35, it would have hardly been intentional. The US would be much happier with a nuke free Israel, as they wouldn't be able to flaunt US pressure nearly so well. I doubt an Israel without nukes would continue building settlements after being told to cut it out, or giving speeches in congress against the wishes of the current administration.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by citanon View Post
                    I had this debate before with the Col, but essentially my POV is that fission weapons are not magic. They are 1930s physics the basics of which are taught to undergraduate physics students at certain US universities and assigned as homework assignments.

                    Basically if you are conservative enough you can make something that you know will 100 percent work unless the laws of physics fly out the window. Hence the trinity test worked on the first try, and they dropped Fatman on Japan without even testing the design.

                    The most significant barrier to constructing a fission weapon is to extract enough high grade nuclear material, which of course you would know if you've done it. The next step is to have reasonably good machining of the core, which is not hard given modern tooling. Once you conduya subcritical test on the core you'll know if you are in the right track. Finally you will have to get the timing on the explosive lens correctly synchronized, which of course you can also test separately.

                    Designing such a weapon that can be dropped from an airplane is no bog deal for a state with the technical capabilities of Israel, and chances are those weapons will look largely similar because of the physics driving the design.
                    Yes that is true but Mordechai Vanunu's photograph leaks showed that Israel had miniaturized the nuke design so it could be fitted into missile delivery warhead and not only that he showed that Israel gained the ability to manufacture thermonuclear warheads. Israel had not conducted any nuke tests and they have a high degree of confidence in their nukes. That alone tells me that Israel obtained the exact blueprints of how to manufacture the weapons precisely and the necessary data to validate its production. That could not come from within only from elsewhere. Ergo, someone violated the nonproliferation treaty. That could only mean two countries that had the necessary data; i.e. United States and France. United States signed it in 1968 and France signed it in 1992.

                    Getting a compact fusion weapon is something else entirely, which is what they were apparently having trouble with in 1987. Nevertheless the world has moved on. if they have similar subcritical testing capabilities to Livermore and Los Alamos and the same physics codes they could probably design it from scratch today. The complicated part is to actually get the very complicated phase diagrams of nuclear materials needed to go into those codes. That is very highly classified crown jewel information in the US and I would be shocked if we gave that to Israel.
                    Based on the above by your own admission, Israel had problems getting a compact fusion weapon and later resolved it without testing and managed to do it through simulation. Where did they get the necessary data and codes to validate their design and etc without going through testing? Only two places, France and U.S.

                    Based on the long history of the relationship between US and Israel and Israel and France, it is a much safer bet to pick U.S as the most likely source of the designs and data for Israel's nuclear program. Given the fact that Israel has such a high degree of confidence in its nuclear program tells me that the data and design was given willingly and vouched for.

                    That is why I have no problem standing by my statement/assertion that US willingly or recklessly violated its non-proliferation treaty to allow Israel to achieve nuclear capability.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TopHatter View Post
                      Where in the report does it state that?

                      Always so quick to assume the worst about the United States aren't you.

                      See my earlier post. I have no problem calling a spade a spade. After all, we are trying to get Iran to give up its nuclear program and it doesn't look good if US knowingly looked the other way or contributed greatly to Israel's nuclear program which allows Israel to threaten anybody in the region without fear of being retaliated back. Do you think that Iran will take that and swallow it? Iran is seeking equilibrium in a paradigm that they perceived to be unequal and in favor of Israel allowing Israel to have the upper hand. They justify their nuclear program as a way to neutralize Israel's nuclear advantage.

                      So somebody on the US side fucked up when they allowed Israel to achieve nuclear capability and allowed the region to be further in-stabilized. If US had guaranteed a nuclear umbrella and warned Israel not to achieve nuclear capability and forced Israel to sign the NPT as a non-nuclear state, US would have much a stronger hand and the moral high ground to beat over Iran.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
                        Only in the same sense that the US "allowed" China to copy the F-35, it would have hardly been intentional. The US would be much happier with a nuke free Israel, as they wouldn't be able to flaunt US pressure nearly so well. I doubt an Israel without nukes would continue building settlements after being told to cut it out, or giving speeches in congress against the wishes of the current administration.
                        Then explain why Israel have such a high degree of confidence in their nuke designs in which they could mate a nuclear warhead onto a missile without going through any testing. Someone else had to do the testing or gave Israel an exact blueprint with very high confidence of executing properly if followed instruction to the letter. Only two countries come to mind and that is US and France. I bet on US, not France because IIRC, France did not really achieve high degree of confidence in thermonuclear designs until the late 80s or early 90s.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Blademaster View Post
                          Yes that is true but Mordechai Vanunu's photograph leaks showed that Israel had miniaturized the nuke design so it could be fitted into missile delivery warhead and not only that he showed that Israel gained the ability to manufacture thermonuclear warheads. Israel had not conducted any nuke tests and they have a high degree of confidence in their nukes. That alone tells me that Israel obtained the exact blueprints of how to manufacture the weapons precisely and the necessary data to validate its production. That could not come from within only from elsewhere. Ergo, someone violated the nonproliferation treaty. That could only mean two countries that had the necessary data; i.e. United States and France. United States signed it in 1968 and France signed it in 1992.

                          Based on the above by your own admission, Israel had problems getting a compact fusion weapon and later resolved it without testing and managed to do it through simulation. Where did they get the necessary data and codes to validate their design and etc without going through testing? Only two places, France and U.S.
                          BM, you are not understanding the implications of Israel having a similar capability as Lawrence Livermore and their mastery of high power laser technology.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by citanon View Post
                            BM, you are not understanding the implications of Israel having a similar capability as Lawrence Livermore and their mastery of high power laser technology.
                            Israel may have high power laser technology but they haven't master it. They can't, not without the necessary data to form the baseline testing. So how did they get thermonuclear designs without testing?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Blademaster View Post
                              Israel may have high power laser technology but they haven't master it.
                              I'm not talking about laser weapons.

                              They can't, not without the necessary data to form the baseline testing.
                              High power lasers are not dependent on thermonuclear design. It's the other way around, don't you see?

                              Comment

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