What was Policy Paper NSC 162/2?

Introduction NSC 162/2 was a policy paper of the United States National Security Council approved by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on 30 October 1953 which defined the Cold War national security policy during the Eisenhower administration. NSC 162/2 was based upon NSC 162, which was the final synthesis of the task force reports of Project… Read More

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Who was Vasily Aleksandrovich Arkhipov?

Introduction Vasily Aleksandrovich Arkhipov (Russian: Василий Александрович Архипов, 30 January 1926 to 19 August 1998) was a Soviet Navy officer credited with preventing a Soviet nuclear strike (and, potentially, all-out nuclear war) during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Such an attack likely would have caused a major global thermonuclear response. As flotilla commander and second-in-command of… Read More

What was the Vela Incident (1979)?

Introduction The Vela incident, also known as the South Atlantic Flash, was an unidentified double flash of light detected by an American Vela Hotel satellite on 22 September 1979 near the Prince Edward Islands in the Indian Ocean. The cause of the flash remains officially unknown, and some information about the event remains classified by… Read More

A Brief Overview of US Military Nuclear Incident Terminology

Introduction The United States Armed Forces uses a number of terms to define the magnitude and extent of nuclear and radiation accidents and incidents in order to reduce the time taken to report the type of incident, thus streamlining the radio communications in the wake of the event. Origin United States Department of Defence directive… Read More

Who was Huang Yongsheng?

Introduction Huang Yongsheng (simplified Chinese: 黄永胜; traditional Chinese: 黃永勝; pinyin: Huáng Yǒngshèng; 1910–1983) was a general of the China’s People’s Liberation Army. In 1955 Huang was awarded the position of Shang Jiang (colonel-general), and Huang continued to rise throughout the 1950s and 1960s, eventually becoming Lin Biao’s Chief-of-staff during the Cultural Revolution. Because of Huang’s… Read More

What is Underground Project 131?

Introduction Underground Project 131 (Chinese: “131”地下工程; pinyin: “131” Dìxià gōngchéng) is a system of tunnels in Hubei province constructed in the late 1960s and the early 1970s to accommodate the Chinese People’s Liberation Army command headquarters in case of a nuclear war. The facility was never fully completed or used, and is currently open to… Read More

What was the Demon Core?

Introduction The demon core was a spherical 6.2-kilogram (14 lb) subcritical mass of plutonium 89 millimetres (3.5 in) in diameter, manufactured during World War II by the United States nuclear weapon development effort, the Manhattan Project, as a fissile core for an early atomic bomb. It was involved in two criticality accidents, on 21 August… Read More