Go to Home Page
  Timeline of the Nuclear Age 2000s  2005


The International Atomic Energy Agency announces that there is evidence of secret nuclear experiments in Egypt.

India and Pakistan exchange lists of their nuclear facilities as per an agreement between the two countries that entered into force in 1991. Under the agreement, both countries are to refrain from attacking each other’s nuclear facilities in the event of a war. The two countries exchange information annually on the first day of the year, and the first such exchange was done on January 1, 1992.

A leak at the Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant prompts the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to shut the reactor down for repairs sooner than planned. According to TVA spokesman John Moulton, about two gallons of radioactive water leak every day inside one of the four steam generators at the plant. The water is contained within the generator, which is designed to transfer heat from the nuclear reactor to create steam to generate electricity.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announces that it is investigating Egypt for small, undeclared nuclear experiments that could be related to nuclear weapons development. Most of the experiments were allegedly done before 1982, when Egypt signed a safeguards agreement with the IAEA, opening itself from that point on to inspections.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei announces that Iran has agreed to grant access to a military site that the U.S. links to a secret nuclear weapons program. Dr. ElBaradei says the first UN inspectors could arrive at the Parchin military complex, used by the Iranians to research, develop, and produce ammunition, missiles, and high explosives ”within days or weeks.” The IAEA has been pressing Iran to allow the inspection of the Parchin military complex for months.

An Israeli television station broadcasts a video of Israel’s top secret nuclear facility in the southern town of Dimona–the first detailed video of the site ever shown to the public. The Israeli nuclear reactor at Dimona in the Negev desert is one of the most sensitive sites in Israel, and any photography is forbidden.

A U.S. nuclear submarine, the USS San Francisco, runs aground as it is headed back to its home port in Guam. According to the U.S. Navy, a sailor injured aboard the submarine died on January 9, 2005, and twenty-three other crew members are being treated for injuries.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sends a memo to Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, saying next year’s budget should include funds to resume study of building an earth-penetrating nuclear weapon designed to destroy hardened underground targets, and additional funds for completing the study in 2007.

Taiwan announces it has begun deploying mobile launcher trucks installed with fixed-base missiles around the island to counter Chinese weapons. The trucks carry Taiwan-produced Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles that are difficult to detect by aerial reconnaissance.

The Hope Creek nuclear generating station in Lower Alloways Creek, New Jersey resumes partial operation. The reactor was shut down October 10, 2004 when a pipe broke and radioactive steam burst into the turbine building. Officials say the radioactivity remained within safe limits and was contained to the turbine building. No personnel were injured.

Thomas Christie, the Pentagon’s director of operational testing, delivers his annual report to Congress on top U.S. weapons programs. In his report, Christie says that a missile defense system “testbed” put together by Boeing Co. “should have some limited capability to defend against a threat missile from North Korea.” He also says, "Ground testing has improved our confidence that military operators could exploit any inherent capability that may exist in the testbed, if needed in an emergency." However, Christie also says it was not possible to estimate the system’s capability with "high confidence" because of a lack of flight testing of the Pentagon’s costliest weapons program.

The U.S. and Australia strike a ten-year deal granting storage of Australian waste in the U.S.; particularly, spent nuclear fuel rods from Sydney’s Lucas Heights reactor will be exported to the U.S. for storage.

Between 18,000 and 27,000 gallons of coolant leak from the Fermi II nuclear power plant. While spokespersons for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission cannot confirm whether or not the leaked water is radioactive, Fermi II owner Detroit Edison Co. spokesman John Austerberry states, “There is no indication of any radioactive release” and insists that the leak poses no threat to the environment or the public.

Citing federal hazardous waste laws, a federal court rules that the state of Washington has the right to prohibit shipments of mixed waste to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The ruling upholds a condition of State Initiative 297, which was supported by an overwhelming majority of Washington’s voters in November 2004. Initiative 297 prevents the Department of Energy (DOE) from sending radioactive waste to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in the southern part of Washington State until waste at the former nuclear weapons facility is fully cleaned up. This ruling may also set a precedent for future State actions against DOE waste disposal solutions.

A U.S. House of Representatives panel releases a report recommending that Congress strengthen U.S. nuclear nonproliferation efforts by funding research and development of detection equipment and proliferation-resistant nuclear technologies, as well as emphasizing flexible, bilateral cooperation with allies over broad-based international organizations and treaties. Other funding priorities listed in the report include strengthening U.S. intelligence capabilities and providing international assistance for export and border controls.

A report is released stating that the two computer disks that went missing–subsequently causing the closure the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in the summer of 2004–actually never existed in the first place. According to the Department of Energy (DOE), barcodes were recorded for the disks, but the disks themselves were never created. A separate FBI investigation supported the finding that the disks in fact never existed, according to the report.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld assigns the U.S. Strategic Command (StratCom) to spearhead the Department of Defense’s (DoD) efforts to combat weapons of mass destruction (WMD). According to a memo from Rumsfeld, under the new assignment, StratCom becomes the “single DoD focal point to integrate and synchronize” all U.S. military means of dealing with WMD. The memo says StratCom will assess what the military needs and must do to “dissuade, deter, and prevent the acquisition, development, transfer, or use of WMD, their delivery systems and associated technology and materials.”

Libya receives uranium hexaflouride from North Korea.

Niger, the world’s third-ranked producer of uranium, announces in a statement that it has ratified the Additional Protocol of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The voluntary Additional Protocol is designed to strengthen and expand existing IAEA safeguards for verifying that non-nuclear weapons states parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) only use nuclear materials and facilities for peaceful purposes.

A high-ranking Ukrainian intelligence official announces that a government probe into lucrative illicit weapons sales by officials loyal to former President Leonid Kuchma has led to secret indictments or arrests of at least six arms dealers accused of selling nuclear-capable missiles to Iran and China. Ukraine’s intelligence agency, the State Security Service, launched its investigation of the case involving Iran and China on February 14, 2004, during Kuchma’s presidency. But the probe was not publicized until the first week of February 2005, when lawmaker Hrihoriy Omelchenko—a reserve colonel in the intelligence service—wrote to current President Viktor Yushchenko, asking him to pursue a full investigation.

The Bahamas sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), bringing the total number of treaty Signatories to 175. The number of Signatories in the Latin America and the Caribbean Region now stands at 28.

In its fiscal year 2006 (FY ‘06) budget request, the Bush administration calls for cutting missile defense spending by $5 billion over the next six years. For FY ‘O6, the Bush administration requests $7.8 billion for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), down from $8.8 billion it received for FY ’05. The request would also reduce the MDA budget by $800 a year for the next five years.

The Department of Energy announces the delay of a 1998 agreement to convert seventy tons of weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for commercial reactors. Because of a liability dispute between United States and Russian officials, construction of the $1.5 billion reprocessing plant at the Savannah River Site has been delayed at least a year.

North Korea's Foreign Ministry announces that is Pyongyang has produced nuclear weapons. This was the most aggressive and public statement made by the North Korean government at the time regarding its nuclear program.

Radioactive tritium leaks at the Watts Bar nuclear power plant during maintenance work on pipes for the waste discharge system. Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) officials and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesmen assure the public that the radioactivity was contained to the site, and no threat was posed to the public.

Officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announce that a Halliburton Co. shipment of radioactive material went missing in October 2004, but the company didn’t alert government authorities until February 8, 2005. The material–two sources of the element americium, used in oil well exploration–was found intact on February 9 in Boston after an intense search by federal authorities. NRC and Halliburton officials say the public was never in danger.

About 300 gallons of nitric acid leaks from a Richland, Washington low-level radioactive waste treatment plant. The nitric acid itself is slightly radioactive. The accident is reported when a yellowish-orange cloud was seen emanating from a storage shed operated by Pacific EcoSolutions, located on the southern edge of the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site. Emergency responder crews and hazardous materials teams contain the spill and dispose of the leaked radioactive waste. Battelle Boulevard in north Richland is closed during the accident. Brant Baynes, Richland Fire Chief, says local residents were lucky that winds were calm, because the nitric acid fumes could have posed a threat to public health.

An interceptor fails to launch in a test of the U.S. missile defense system. The test is set to involve a missile interceptor hitting a mock ICBM launched from Alaska. While the target ICBM successfully launches, the interceptor does not leave its silo on the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamed ElBaradei leads a team of inspectors to inspect two nuclear facilities in Nigeria and advise on safety and security. Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo welcomes Dr. ElBaradei and his team and declares that Africa’s most populous country has no ambition to become a nuclear power. He says Nigeria is only interested in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

An annual audit of the UK’s Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant reveals that thirty kilograms of plutonium cannot be accounted for. The loss is embarrassing for British Nuclear Fuels, which operates the Sellafield fuel reprocessing plant.

Canada declines participation in the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense Program.

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) releases the report "After the Tsunami: Rapid Environmental Assessment," which provides a preliminary ground-level look at the tsunami’s impact on various sectors of the region’s environment. The report states that the December 2004 Asian tsunami has scattered Somalia’s illegally dumped nuclear wastes across the country. When the tsunami hit on December 26, 2004, contamination and radioactivity was stirred up causing numerous health and environmental problems. The tsunami’s power broke barrels and waste containers. Groundwater as well as fishing communities have been contaminated. Unusual health problems are arising, such as acute respiratory infections, heavy coughing and bleeding from the mouth, abdominal hemorrhages, unusual skin conditions, and sudden death after inhaling toxic materials.

Canada officially announces it will not join the U.S. in operating a continental missile defense program. Polls show that two-thirds of Canadians oppose involvement in the missile defense effort, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin faces strong opposition to cooperation within his Liberal Party. The decision marks a reversal for Prime Minister Martin who had campaigned on promises to join the controversial U.S. missile defense program. Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew announces in Parliament, “After careful consideration of the issue, we have decided that Canada will not participate in the US ballistic missile defense system.” He adds that the decision would not “in any way” hurt relations between the neighbors, including continued cooperation under NORAD.

Alexander Rumyantsev, Atomic Energy Minister of the Russian Federation, and Gholamreza Aghazadeh, Iranian Vice-President and Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, reach an agreement on Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor. The agreement paves the way for the reactor’s construction and a supply of Russian nuclear fuel. International pressure forces the agreement to include a clause whereby Iran must return spent nuclear fuel from the Bushehr reactor to Russia. The clause serves as a safeguard, ensuring Iran does not extract plutonium from fuel for use in the development of a nuclear weapons program.

Iran and Russia sign a nuclear fuel deal that plans to bring Tehran's first nuclear reactor online by the end of 2006. 

Demonstrating concern about North Korea’s first public announcement in early February 2005 that it has a nuclear weapons program, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors agrees to a “chairman’s conclusion” in the final item of business during its four-day, quarterly meeting. According to the statement, “The board strongly encouraged all the parties concerned to redouble their efforts to facilitate an early resumption of the six-party talks…and urged particularly the D.P.R.K. to agree to the resumption of the six-party talks at an early date without preconditions.” The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) projects that by 2020 at least sixty new nuclear power plants will come online. Worldwide there are presently about thirty countries operating a total of 441 nuclear power plants with 27 new plants under construction. The greatest demand for nuclear power is in Asia where India plans a ten-fold increase in its nuclear electricity capacity

Nuclear physicist Hans Bethe passes away at the age of 98. Hans Bethe was a senior scientist on the Manhattan Project, which developed the first U.S. atomic bomb. He also held the position of Director of the Theoretical Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Although he never regretted working on the atomic bomb, later in life he urged all scientists to halt work on nuclear weapons.

Pakistan releases a statement admitting that A.Q. Khan sold Iran high speed centrifuges. 

After ten years of discussions, NATO countries decide to proceed with a new single theater missile defense system to protect deployed troops. The system is expected to be ready by 2010. According to a NATO official, the system “will combine existing national systems (such as the U.S. made Patriot missile).”

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel Bodman announces that “certain employees of the U.S. Geological Survey at the Department of the Interior working on the Yucca Mountain project may have falsified documentation of their work.” At question are studies of how water would infiltrate the storage areas.

Pakistan successfully test fires a Shaheen-2 long-range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. According to military officials, Pakistan informed neighboring countries in advance of the test. The military announces, “The test was carried out to verify some of the refined parameters. Al Hamd-o-Lillah (Praise to God), all parameters were validated.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) organizes the International Ministerial Conference, “Nuclear Power for the 21st Century” to discuss future nuclear energy policies and to analyze the potential contribution of nuclear power as a source of energy capable of meeting energy needs. The conference is hosted in Paris, France in cooperation with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Ministers, high-ranking officials, and experts from 74 states and 10 international organizations attend the conference.

North Korea announces that it has augmented its nuclear arsenal and accuses the United States of provoking the move. In a radio broadcast, North Korea states, “In the face of the enemy’s mounting war provocations, our armed forces and the people have already been fully prepared for war mobilizations in order to bust any aggression attempts at one sweep and taken the decisive measure of increasing our nuclear arsenal.”

Another round of negotiations between diplomats from France, Germany, Iran and the United Kingdom conclude without reaching an agreement. After the meeting in Paris, senior Iranian negotiator Sirus Naseri says that Iran continues to reject European Union demands that it permanently end its uranium enrichment program. According to Naseri, “This is not something we are prepared to consider. However, as you know the Europeans have a view on that.”

A Defense Nuclear Safety Board (DNSB) report reveals repeated instances at U.S. nuclear weapons sites where highly radioactive materials were stored in containers not designed to hold extremely dangerous substances. According to the DNSB report, plutonium was stored at nuclear weapons laboratories in paint cans, food-pack cans, and thin-walled slip-lid cans with loose fitting lids sometimes only held on by tape. These improper containers even held plutonium-238, which is 100 times more radioactive than the more common plutonium-239.

Yosaku Fuji, President of Kansai Electric Power Company (KEPCO), announces that he will take responsibility for the Mihama nuclear accident and resign his position. Fuji says he is “taking responsibility for the accident that left eleven workers either dead or injured and because inappropriate measures had come to light in subsequent investigations.” The August 2004 Mihama accident was caused by a corroded pipe that had not been checked or replaced since the plant began commercial operations in 1976.

According to declassified U.S. documents, top officials in the President Gerald Ford’s administration–including then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, current Vice President Dick Cheney, and current Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld–recommended Iran’s uranium enrichment program. The newly declassified documents reveal that U.S. companies, led by Westinghouse, stood to gain $6.4 billion from the sale of six to eight nuclear reactors and parts to Iran.

ING, the largest private financial institution in the Benelux countries, and the 11th largest in the world, decides to no longer invest in companies producing controversial weapons. The types of weapons excluded by ING are anti-personnel mines, cluster bombs, depleted uranium weapons, and biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. Netwerk Vlaanderen, Forum voor Vredesactie, For Mother Earth and Vrede have been campaigning since 2003 for an end to investments of Belgian banks in the arms trade. Their campaign "My Money. Clear Conscience?" has put pressure on ING to make this important step in the direction of a peaceful investment policy.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew and United States Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman announce that the two countries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to assist with the permanent closure of one of the final operating weapons-grade plutonium production reactors in Russia. Under the MoU, Canada will contribute $9 million Canadian ($7 million USD) to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Elimination of Weapons-Grade Plutonium Production (EWGPP) program.

According to a poll by Ipsos-Public Affairs, two-thirds of Americans say they do not think any country, including the U.S., should have nuclear weapons. Most of the others surveyed say no more countries should get the weapons.

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) initiates the process of updating the W76 submarine-launched missile warhead with a test as a step toward refurbishing the aging weapon by 2007. Conducted at the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test Facility at LANL, the test is labeled a “success” by laboratory officials. The test is part of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Stockpile Stewardship Life Extension Program.

The U.S. State Department calls on Israel to forswear nuclear weapons and accept International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards on all nuclear activities. The statement marks the second time in two weeks that Bush administration officials put Israel’s nuclear arsenal on par with India and Pakistan, calling on all three countries to act like Ukraine and South Africa in renouncing their nuclear weapons.

The United Nations approves the Nuclear Terrorism Treaty. This treaty enhances the methods by which the UN and nations can protect nuclear materials from terrorist threat.

North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan said Pyongyang might give nuclear weapons to terrorists if “the United States drives us into a corner.”

The 191-member General Assembly of the United Nations adopts the "International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism" by consensus without a vote. The goal of the convention is to stop clandestine networks from using or possessing nuclear weapons. It obligates governments to prosecute or extradite individuals who possess radioactive materials or nuclear devices or those who threaten others while possessing such materials. The treaty also calls for exchanges of information and assistance among governments. The convention will be open for signature on September 14, 2005 in New York during a high-level summit. It must be ratified by 22 nations to become international law.

Twenty tons of highly radioactive material leak from a broken pipe at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant in the United Kingdom. The leak occurs in an isolated area of the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant (THORP). According to British Nuclear Fuels, nobody is injured and the spill poses no threat to the public or the environment. The leaked material is a mix of highly radioactive uranium and plutonium in concentrated nitric acid. The affected area of the Sellafield plant will remain closed for months as officials devise a way of cleaning up the mess.

General Lance Lord, head of the U.S. Space Command says that the U.S. needs to consider alternative uses for its land-based strategic missile force to keep up with changing threats to U.S. security. Built to deliver massive nuclear strikes against the former Soviet Union, U.S. ICBMs could be converted to other missions, General Lord tells an audience at the National Defense University Foundation. He says those missions could include use in U.S. missile defenses, attacking deeply buried targets with conventional warheads at short notice and conducting military missions in space.

The Belgian Senate unanimously approves a nonbinding resolution urging the gradual removal of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons reportedly housed in the country at the Kleine Brogel Air Base. Removal of the weapons is necessary “considering that the continued existence and strict implementation of the Nonproliferation Treaty are necessary for peace and international security,” the senate resolution says.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry hosts representatives from the world’s four nuclear weapon-free zones for a conference in Mexico City.

The Japanese government goes into an emergency situation when the U.S. government informs Japan that North Korea had conducted a short-range missile test with the trajectory aimed at Japan. The situation settles after 30 minutes when the U.S. sends a modified intelligence report, saying, “We miscalculated the orbit [of the missile]. The missile was not aimed at Japan.” Since August 1998, when North Korea test-launched a Daepodong missile, the U.S. has been frequently offering missile-related intelligence to Japan.

According to reports by the London Independent newspaper, the British government has initiated plans to replace its aging arsenal of submarine-launched Trident ICBMs. According to a senior UK defense official, “The decision to replace Trident has been taken in principle very recently. US law does not allow the US to build bombs for us. We have to build our own.” The Trident is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2024. British Prime Minister Tony Blair counters the Independent article saying his government has not yet decided whether to update its nuclear arsenal. According to Blair, “A decision has not been taken, but obviously we will have to think about that carefully over the coming years.” The UK has four Trident submarines, each carrying 16 missiles, which are carrying multiple nuclear warheads.

The Seventh Review Conference of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) begins at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The Maltese House of Representatives ratifies the Additional Protocol to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards agreement. Foreign Minister Michael Frendo says that although Malta does not have a nuclear weapons program, guarding against illicit transport of nuclear-related materials through its seaport remains a priority. Malta is the 63rd country to ratify the Additional Protocol, which allows for more intrusive inspections by the IAEA.

Beleaguered Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Director George Nanos announces that he would step down from his post, following a two-year stint marred by multiple financial and security problems at the lab. Nanos was famously unpopular during his tenure, mostly as a result of his handling of the LANL shut-down in July 2004. Many onlookers speculate that the University of California pressured Nanos to resign as a means of bolstering its credibility in preparation for making a serious run to retain its LANL management contract.

German Defense Minister Peter Struck says the possible withdrawal of U.S. nuclear weapons from Germany will be discussed in NATO committee meetings. At the U.S. Air Force base at Ramstein, Struck states, “I agree with Foreign Minister [Joschka] Fischer that we should take up this issue in NATO committees.” There are an estimated 480 U.S. nuclear weapon in Europe; 150 of those are believed to be in Germany.

According to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Inspector General, the Idaho National Laboratory is unable to account for 269 computers and disc drives that may contain top-secret information. While none of the missing equipment was authorized to contain sensitive information, lab officials say that they may contain data regarding nuclear technologies that are illegal to release to foreign nationals.

Iranian officials announce their intention to restart work at the Isfahan plant to enrich uranium, ending Iran’s suspension of uranium-related projects that was agreed upon in Paris in November 2004. Hassan Rohani, Iran’s lead negotiator says, "Iran will definitely resume a part of its enrichment activities in the near future...but we are still discussing its conditions and time of restarting the activities."

A two-day nuclear disaster simulation begins in Europe. More than sixty nations participate to prepare contingency plans should a nuclear disaster occur in the future. The simulation tests international communications and continental emergency response readiness. Zhanat Carr, the World Health Organization’s Radiation Emergency Medical Preparedness and Assistance Network Coordinator, stresses the importance of cooperation and communication in the event of a nuclear catastrophe. He says, “No matter how ready you are, if there’s no communication, the response will not work.”

North Korea issues a statement saying 8,000 fuel rods have been extracted from its five-megawatt Yongbyon nuclear reactor after its shutdown on April 18, 2005. A North Korean official spokesman tells the Korean Central News Agency that the North “is continuously taking measures necessary to increase its nuclear arsenal for defense purposes.” It is likely North Korea will reprocess the fuel rods to produce plutonium for use in nuclear weapons. North Korea’s ambassador to the UN, Han Sang-ryol, says shutting the reactor to extract spent fuel rods for weapons processing will increase the North’s deterrent against a possible U.S. attack.

India test-fires a nuclear-capable missile designed for battlefield use. The Prithvi 1 missile has a range of 190 miles and can carry low-yield nuclear or conventional warheads. According to officials, the test is successfully conducted at the Chandipur-on-Sea test site in eastern India.

India’s upper house of parliament passes legislation banning the proliferation of nuclear technology seven years after the country shocked the world with a series of nuclear tests. The Weapons of Mass Destruction and Their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Bill outlaws the transfer of biological and chemical weapons and their delivery systems. The bill will become law as soon as it is signed by Indian President Abdul Kalam.

Two Russian officials say that the country is open to reducing its strategic nuclear arsenal to levels lower than those required by the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) with the U.S. Lt. General. Vladimir Verhoytsey, Deputy Director of the Defense Ministry’s Department of Nuclear Safety and Security, says that Russia is “ready to reduce to 1,500 warheads or less.”

Iran’s parliament passes a bill calling on the nation to resume efforts to manufacture nuclear fuel. Senior Iranian nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani says Iran does not plan to resume uranium processing immediately. The resolution still needs approval from the Iranian Guardian Council to become a law, but the council is expected to approve the bill. According to Asefi, “Any legislation that turns into law after approval by the Guardian Council is binding for the government and the government has to implement it.”

 AREVA, France’s leading provider of nuclear services, announces two new nuclear energy contracts with China valued at more than $500 million. Under the contracts, AREVA will supply the Ling Ao reactor, in Guangdong Province, with instrumentation, control systems, turbines, and other hardware.

U.S. District Court Judge Philip Pro rules against the Western Shoshone National Council, who are suing for a preliminary injunction to prevent the federal government from applying for an operating license for the nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain. The Shoshone argue that the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley, which recognizes land of present-day Nevada, California, Utah, and Idaho as Shoshone tribal land, allows for only specific uses of ancestral lands, i.e. settlements, mining, ranching, agriculture, none of which include storage of nuclear waste. Judge Pro rules in favor of U.S. Justice Department lawyer Sara Culley’s argument, who says the Shoshone Council’s challenge of the Yucca project is “a direct contradiction of a congressional mandate.” Judge Pro says an injunction halting progress on Yucca Mountain “would delay progress towards completing Congress’ chosen solution.”

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) issues its final request for proposals to manage Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). According to the request, the winner of the bidding competition will be granted a seven-year contract for between $63 million and $79 million a year, with an option for a thirteen-year extension of the contract.

 The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board rejects the state of Utah’s appeal to prevent the construction of a nuclear waste dump at Skull Valley. Attorneys for the state of Utah argue that the storage of spent fuel and other radioactive nuclear waste poses a significant threat to the public, should jets from the adjacent U.S. Air Force base crash into the waste casks. U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission lawyers successfully convinced the Licensing board that Utah state attorneys raised this concern too late and that the argument lacked scientific merit. The ruling clears the way for the approval of the Skull Valley nuclear waste dump and the storage of about 44,000 tons of radioactive waste about 45 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announces that three kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) were returned from Latvia to Russia in a joint effort between Latvia, Russia, the United States, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The uranium had been supplied to Latvia by the Soviet Union for use in a research reactor, which was shut down seven years ago. The U.S. National Nuclear Security Agency Administrator Linton Brooks says, “The recovery, return and eventual elimination of highly enriched uranium is an important component of the administration’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative campaign to reduce the threat posed by dangerous nuclear and radiological material worldwide.”

France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (EU-3), and Iran pledge to come up with an agreement regarding the Iranian nuclear program by the end of July 2005. Iran renewed its vow that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only and it is in accordance with its right to develop nuclear energy under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman and Ukrainian Minister for Emergency Situations David Zhvaniya pledge to upgrade security at Ukrainian nuclear waste storage facilities. The agreement aims to prevent the trafficking of nuclear waste and to prohibit terrorists from seizing materials for use in a crude nuclear weapon. The agreement calls on the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Global Radiological Threat Reduction to significantly upgrade security at six Ukrainian nuclear waste facilities.

The U.S. House of Representatives approves the $29.7 billion fiscal year 2006 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill by a 416 to 13 vote. The bill includes $1.5 billion for nuclear non-proliferation programs and $6.2 billion for nuclear weapons activities. The bill denies any funds used towards the development of new types of nuclear weapons, such as the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (“bunker busters”). However, it provides $25 million for an initial study of a Reliable Replacement Warhead.

Syria test fires three scud missiles capable of delivering chemical weapons and built using North Korean technology. According to Israeli military officials, one of the missiles broke apart mid-flight, scattering debris over Turkey. Faruk Logoglu, Turkish ambassador to the United States, was told by the Syrian ambassador that "during a military exercise there was a technical mishap and that the Syrian government was very sorry about this.”

The Review Conference of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) ends without having achieved significant progress on a wide range of arms control issues. The month-long Review Conference held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from  May 2, to May 27, 2005 was marked by a number of contentious issues that remain unresolved. No agreement is reached on controlling the nuclear fuel cycle, making withdrawal from the NPT more difficult, or dealing with states that are not party to the NPT. Member states fail to adopt a final document based on consensus and do not agree on any new objectives.

Iran tests a new missile using solid-fuel technology that matches the more than 2,000 kilometer (1,280 mile) range of its Shahab-3 missile. Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani says the test was “100 percent successful.” Iran’s rapid progress on its ballistic missile program is a major cause for concern among the international community, which is already alarmed over Iran’s nuclear activities.

Technicians at Sweden’s Barseback-2 nuclear reactor hit the off button, shutting down the country’s oldest nuclear power plant for good. Vattenfall, the state-owned company that operated the facility, will now funnel $1.09 billion toward building northern Europe’s biggest wind farm. The country’s ten remaining nuclear facilities will be shut down in a few years.

The Fernald uranium facility in Ohio starts shipping radioactive waste to a waste control site in Texas. The shipment is the first of an estimated 2,100 shipments of the Cold War-era radioactive material that have been stored in two aging concrete storage silos at the plant since the 1950s. Earlier attempts to clean up the Fernald site in the 1980s failed when planned measures to permanently dispose of the radioactive materials in Utah and Nevada did not materialize.

U.S. military officials and Raytheon military contractors unveil an $815 million sea-based X-band radar system–an early warning system designed to track incoming enemy missiles. The sea-based radar stands more than 250 feet high and will be installed on Adak, an Aleutian Island in Alaska. The radar must first be shipped from the U.S. east coast around South America. During its voyage, officials will give the radar its first complete test when it passes through Hawaii.

The U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) concludes its 16th Weapons of Mass Destruction interdiction simulation off the coast of Spain. The two-day simulation consists of a dual-phase fictional scenario involving an aircraft illicitly carrying centrifuge technology from Eurasia to South America. The simulation is part of a series of exercises that take place in different regions of the world under the auspices of PSI.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton announces the resignation of Charles Groat, the director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). USGS spokesperson A.B. Wade denies any association between Groat’s resignation and the ongoing flap over falsified Yucca Mountain documents.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announces that Iran’s claim regarding the source of uranium contamination on its centrifuges appears correct. After the IAEA detected uranium traces on centrifuges in Iran in 2003, the Iranian government asserted that the contamination stemmed from earlier use in Pakistan. In 2004, the Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan confessed the illicit transfer of centrifuges to Iran.

Hard-line militarist Robert G. Joseph assumes John Bolton’s former role as the U.S. State Department’s Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs. Among his policy positions, Joseph is a proponent of preemptive war, increased military spending as a would-be answer to potential terrorist assaults, and the development of new, “usable” nuclear weapons.

The Department of Energy (DOE) gives the University of California until May 31, 2006 to operate the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), extending the existing contract by eight months. According to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the division of the DOE that deals with nuclear-related issues, the extension will allow LANL employees more time to examine their employment options.

Taiwan successfully test fires its first cruise missile, which would allow the island to hit major military targets in southeast China. The Hsiung Feng cruise missile has a range of 1,000 kilometers (600 miles). It was developed by the military-run Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifies the freeze of uranium enrichment activities at Natanz, Iran. The Iranian government agreed to suspend its enrichment activities while engaged in negotiations with France, Germany, and Great Britain (EU-3).

Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei is re-appointed as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) after the United States dropped its opposition to his candidacy. ElBaradei will serve as the IAEA Director-General for the next four years.

The lower house in Japan’s parliament passes a bill that creates the legal basis for intercepting incoming ballistic missiles. The bill also authorizes Japan’s armed forces to intercept incoming missiles without approval from the Prime Minister or the Cabinet. Defense hawks argue the authority to shoot down incoming missiles without explicit executive consent is necessary because missiles fired from North Korea, for example, would strike Tokyo within minutes of launch. Only if time permits, Japanese defense forces would seek consent of the Prime Minister. The bill must pass the Upper House to become law.

 China test fires the Ju Lang-2, a new, nuclear capable long-range submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The Ju Lang-2 is a modified version of the Dong Feng-31, an intercontinental ballistic missile that has a range of about 8,000 kilometers (5,000 miles). U.S. officials say this test marks a major advance in Beijing’s long-range nuclear program.

The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) approves a deal that exempts Saudi Arabia from nuclear inspections. The country is exempted under what is known as the Small Quantities Agreement, which permits countries whose nuclear activities and supplies are deemed below a minimum level to forgo nuclear inspections, in exchange for submitting a written declaration of their nuclear activities. The Small Quantities Agreement currently applies to 75 nations, most of which are located in “politically stable” parts of the world.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General ElBaradei announces Iran’s failure to fully disclose information regarding its plutonium activities. Iran stated earlier that its plutonium experiments ended in 1993. However, IAEA investigations reveal that these experiments continued until 1998. ElBaradei also criticizes Iran for refusing the IAEA access to two nuclear facilities suspected to house weaponization activities.

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) abandons its search for a nuclear weapon that was lost off the coast of Georgia in 1958. Just after midnight on February 5, 1958, two U.S. Air Force jets, each traveling 500 mph, collided 35,000 feet over the Georgia countryside. Improbably, all four crew members survived, but a 7,600 pound thermonuclear weapon was lost in the accident. The Air Force searched the area again recently following claims by a retired general that high levels of radiation were found in the area. The USAF advisor who led the search, Billy Mullins, comments, “We still think it’s irretrievably lost. We don’t know where to look for it.”

The Japanese Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper reports on a U.S. cover-up of a radiation contamination incident in the South Pacific in 1954. The cover-up came to light with the declassification of a document that shows the U.S. government pressured Japan to stop its research into radiation contamination.

The IBM Blue Gene/L system, located at the Lawrence Livermore Lab, is named the world’s most powerful computer at the International Supercomputer Conference in Heidelberg, Germany. The computer is capable of 136.8 teraflops or trillions of calculations per second. One of the primary purposes of the computer is to simulate tests of nuclear weapons. Known more commonly as “Super Blue,” it has long been criticized by anti-nuclear activists for corrupting the spirit of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which was signed in 1992 but has not yet been ratified by the U.S.

Pentagon officials announce that a U.S. Air Force contract worth as much as $750 million was awarded to Raytheon Company to supply components for Taiwan’s missile and air defense system. Under the contract, Raytheon will develop key components for Taiwan’s Air Forces Early Warning Surveillance Radar system. The system will allow Taiwan to detect and track long and short-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft, and sea vessels. The system can be integrated with the U.S. Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) anti-missile systems, which the U.S. has already offered to sell Taiwan.

A fire breaks out at the Turkey Point nuclear power plant in south Miami-Dade County. Officials say no radioactivity was released. The fire is contained to non-nuclear areas of the site, and no one was hurt during the early morning emergency.

The Department of Energy (DOE) releases a draft environmental impact study that endorses its long-discussed decision to resume production of Plutonium-238 (Pu-238) at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). In addition to Pu-238 production, INL would also become the new home for processes of Pu-238 manufacture and purification that previously took place at the Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, National Laboratories. The Pu-238 produced at INL would be used to create space batteries, ostensibly for “national security” purposes and to power NASA space crafts. Construction of a new Pu-238 complex to accommodate the consolidation would, if approved, be finished by 2009 and cost up to $300 million.

 Authorities at the ministerial meeting of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor(ITER) agree on Cadarache, France as the host site for an experimental fusion reactor. ITER will be the world’s first large-scale nuclear fusion reactor, a platform for testing fusion technologies and the feasibility of widespread energy production from commercial fusion reactors.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Indian Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee sign a ten-year agreement to cooperate in the production of weapons, and military technology and energy resources. The agreement centers on the expansion of defense trade and establishes the foundation for a defense procurement and a production group to facilitate greater cooperation in defense technology and equipment development.

A new report released by a National Academy of Sciences’ panel discloses that even very low doses of radiation pose a risk of cancer over a person’s lifetime. It rejects some scientists’ arguments that tiny doses are harmless or may in fact be beneficial. According to the scientists on the panel, "It is unlikely that there is a threshold (of radiation exposure) below which cancers are not induced.” The findings could influence the maximum radiation levels that are allowed at abandoned reactors and other nuclear sites and raises warnings about excessive exposure to radiation for medical purposes such as repeated whole-body CT scans. The experts say that while at low doses "the number of radiation-induced cancers will be small...as the overall lifetime exposure increases, so does the risk.”

A fire breaks out at the Hamaoka nuclear power plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Officials tell the public that no radioactivity is leaking outside the plant and no injuries are reported. The fire occurs in the basement of a low-level radioactive waste treatment facility about one hundred miles west of Tokyo. Officials report the nuclear reactors are online and operating normally, and there is no need to suspend operations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signs into law a Russo-Italian cooperation agreement. Under the agreement, Italy will finance and provide technical assistance to help dismantle Russian nuclear submarines and provide for environmental cleanup of nuclear sites in Northwestern Russia.

The Group of Eight (G8) summit at Gleneagles, Scotland ends without the adoption of non-proliferation measures. The G8 issues a joint statement that recognizes support for a range of non-proliferation measures but does not present any new initiatives. The statement also expresses support for the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and endorsed the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), as well as the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540.

Yuri Sokolov, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Deputy Director General and head of the Nuclear Energy Department, states that as many as 130 new nuclear power plants may be built over the next fifteen years.

The U.S. Department of Defense releases The Military Power of the People’s Republic of China, 2005, its annual report on Chinese military power to Congress. The report assesses the rapidly expanding military expenditures and capabilities of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. According to the report, the Chinese defense sector could receive up to $90 billion in 2005, making China the world’s second largest defense spender after the U.S.

Officials at Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Laboratory declare an operational emergency when a fire sweeps through Livermore. No damage is done to the lab, or to any nearby houses. However, the fire burned up to 10,250 acres of mostly wild grass before being contained.

On the same day that the Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, addresses a joint session of the House and Senate, members of the House of Representatives Energy Conference Committee approve a measure offered by Representative Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) to prevent the exportation of nuclear technology to countries, like India, that are not party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and who have detonated a nuclear device.

The Republic of Honduras signs the Additional Protocol to its International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards agreement. Honduras is the 100th nation to sign the protocol, which allows for more intrusive on-site inspections.

The fourth round of six-nation talks concerning North Korea's nuclear weapons program begin.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) judge endorses a plan to extract uranium from the sole source of drinking water for 15,000 members of the Navajo Nation. The water aquifer is located near Crowpoint and Church Rock, located on the southeastern edge of the Navajo Nation in northern New Mexico.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomes new multilateral non-proliferation efforts by Australia, Chile, Indonesia, Norway, Romania, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The initiative, spearheaded by Norwegian Foreign Minister Jan Petersen, takes a pro-active approach in the aftermath of the failed 2005 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference. It looks towards the World Millennium + 5 Summit that will be held at the UN in New York in September 2005 as an opportunity to take a strong stand on non-proliferation and disarmament issues.

The radioactive contamination of a Los Alamos National Laboratory worker’s workspace, clothing, car, and home is confirmed following an investigation.

Russia announced the destruction of the final SS-18 Satan missile launcher.

During discussions on nuclear confidence building measures, Indian and Pakistani officials agree to Pre-Notification of Flight Testing of Ballistic Missiles. The agreement requires each state to notify the other before flight testing a ballistic missile in order to reduce the risk of accidental or unauthorized use of a nuclear weapon. The two states also agree to establish direct telephone links between top bureaucrats in their Foreign Ministries.

President Bush signs the Energy Policy Act of 2005. According to the Washington Post, “The nuclear industry is among the biggest beneficiaries of the bill.” The bill encourages nuclear energy research and development, and renews the Nuclear Power 2010 Partnership. The bill provides incentives for the first six new reactors to be built, including loan guarantees, production tax credits, and risk protection for new and existing reactors.

Ruud Lubbers, the former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, states that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency asked his country to forgo prosecution of former top Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan in the 1970s and 1980s for allegedly making illegal nuclear transfers from a Dutch company for which he worked. According to Lubbers, “The American intelligence applied one of their common tactics. They said, ‘Give us all the information and don’t arrest him, let the man go. We’ll follow him and uncover more details.’ I doubted it was the right course to let him go to get more information.”

A Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) employee mishandles hazardous radioactive substance and causes contamination in four different states. Traces of Americium-241 are found in New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, and at a Pennsylvania laboratory.

In apparently unrelated incidents, the Number One and Five reactors at the Fukushima plant in Ohkuma, Fukushima Prefecture are shut down for unscheduled maintenance. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) begins shut-down procedures on the Number One reactor in order to inspect the leakage of highly radioactive tritium. Officials do not announce where the leak originated from. The next day, TEPCO shut down the Number Five reactor at the Fukushima plant because of suspected problems with the generator’s emergency coolant system.

Russia officially halts use of its rail-based missiles.

Pakistan acknowledges that A.Q. Khan supplied North Korea with centrifuges.

The Tennessee-based Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) finds "hot spots" of plutonium across portions of the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons site in Colorado.

A jury in Yakima, Washington determines that eleven former pipefitters at the Hanford nuclear site were fired for speaking up about safety concerns in 1997 and awards them $4.7 million.

Scientific assessment of countries' nuclear stockpiles published by the Institute for Science and International Security states that the world has made enough fissile material for more than 300,000 nuclear bombs.

The Bush administration approves a controversial $3.1 billion plan for massive temporary radioactive-waste dump on the Goshute Indian reservation in Utah–a victory for nuclear power interests.

The Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff draft a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons.

The U.S. successfully tests an unarmed Minuteman-3 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). The missile is fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base, traveled 4,200 miles in 30 minutes, and strikes a target at the Ronald Reagan Test Site on the Kwajalein Atoll in the western chain of the Marshall Islands.

An additional ground-based missile “defense” interceptor is emplaced in a missile silo at Fort Greeley, Alaska. This is the seventh ground-based mid-course interceptor at Fort Greeley.

Six-party talks conclude, leaving a list of guiding principals to handle North Korea's nuclear weapons program. The list includes:

  • North Korea will abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs;
  • Joint denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; and
  • North Korea has the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy.

An empty nuclear waste container tips over at the CSX Frontier Rail yard in Buffalo, New York. The container tips over when the train hauling it sideswiped another train in the yard. Officials report that the container is undamaged and there is no release of radiation. This is an example of the transportation dangers that would be involved in the transport of nuclear waste.

The U.S. successfully launches the Space Test Program-R1 satellite into low Earth orbit from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that there is no indication that nuclear material in Iraq is being diverted for undeclared activities, following a two-day inspection by agency officials. According to an IAEA statement, “The material—natural or low-enriched uranium—is consolidated at a storage facility near the Tuwaitha complex, south of Baghdad. The inspectors found no diversion of nuclear material.”

Dr. Mohamed El Baradei is officially appointed to his third four-year term as Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) during the IAEA’s annual general conference in Vienna.

India and Pakistan sign an agreement for advanced notification of ballistic missile tests. According to statement released by India, “The agreement entails that both countries provide each other advance notification of flight tests that it intends to undertake of any surface-to-surface ballistic missile. India has now handed over a draft memorandum of understanding on measures to reduce the risks of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons under the control of both countries.”

Lockheed Martin announces the successful test of the prototype Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Weapon System’s Signal Processor (BSP). The Aegis BSP aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Russell successfully tracks an advanced ballistic missile target launched over the Pacific Ocean. Officials report the BSP provided real-time detection, tracking, and discrimination, and proved capable of discerning between the separated re-entry vehicle and its countermeasures.

Mohamed ElBaradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency win the Nobel Peace Price.

The last of more than 62,000 waste shipments departs Rocky Flats, Colorado, signaling the end of a massive ten-year cleanup effort at the former nuclear weapons facility.

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee includes a scathing critique of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system in its version of the Fiscal Year 2006 Defense Appropriations Bill. The report lambastes White House and Defense officials for their unwillingness to invest more capital, political, and financial resources in the unproven missile defense system.

U.S. and Russian officials are present for a groundbreaking ceremony at the Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The facility will convert 34 tons of weapons grade plutonium into fuel for commercial nuclear power plants. However, funding the construction of the plant and its operation remains in question. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has already received $600 million to build to plant, but an additional $1 billion is needed to fund its operation.

U.C. Santa Barbara (UCSB) and U.C. Santa Cruz (UCSC) establish direct partnerships with Los Alamos National Laboratories for the first time.

The U.S. Navy announces that U.S. and Japanese officials have agreed to allow the Navy to station a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in Japan for the first time.

A Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile is test fired from the Kapustin Yar facility in Russia and travels to the Balkhash testing range in Kazakhstan. The test is unique in two respects. First, missile tests are normally conducted at the Kura testing ground at Plesetsk, Kamchatka. Some analysts speculate the test is conducted from Kapustin Yar because Russian officials want to conceal the unique nature of the missile’s trajectory from U.S. radar facilities that can monitor tests at the Kura range. Second, the Topol-M is thought to carry a unique warhead capable of maneuvering at very high speeds during the warhead’s mid-course and terminal phases. Such a warhead would be capable of thwarting missile defense systems.

The fifth round of six-nation talks concerning North Korea's nuclear weapons program occurs. 

Over 600 Idaho National laboratory employees evacuate the facility after a propane leak sprung at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex.

A new Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Facility is approved for construction at the Los Alamos National Laboratory as part of the Fiscal Year 2006 Energy and Water Appropriations bill.

The September 11th Commission finds that the Bush administration has made “insufficient progress” in efforts to prevent nuclear terrorism. According to the Commission, chaired by Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton, President Bush must make nuclear terrorism prevention “his top national security priority and ride herd on the bureaucracy to maintain a sense of urgency.”

In a Record of Decision (ROD), the Department of Energy (DOE) approves doubling the maximum amount of allowable plutonium on-site at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), despite the vigorous objections of local community members. Among other controversial decisions, the ROD also doubles a highly enriched uranium storage limit, increases tritium (radioactive hydrogen) storage, boosts the tritium "at risk" limit nearly 10-fold, alters the National Ignition Facility (NIF) to include plutonium and other new weapons experiments, and names LLNL as the location to manufacture NIF’s fusion and new plutonium fission targets.

A Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) Interceptor is successfully flight tested, launching from its silo in the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It is the first successful test launch since October 2002. This was not a completely successful test.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sponsored an eighteen-country survey to gauge public opinion on nuclear issues. The survey finds, “that while majorities of citizens generally support the continued use of existing nuclear reactors, most people do not favor the building of new nuclear plants.” One thousand people in each of eighteen countries were asked six questions about their awareness of the IAEA, effectiveness of IAEA inspections, views on nuclear security, support of peaceful applications of nuclear technologies, support for nuclear power, and the influence that potential climate benefits have on support for nuclear power.

One worker is killed, two injured, at the Ecomet-S radioactive metal smelting plant, which is part of the Leningrad nuclear power plant in Sosnovy Bor. According to officials, hundreds of pounds of molten metal splashed from a smelter severely burning the workers and damaging equipment but did not cause damage to the reactors or lead to any radioactive release.

Senator Conrad Burns (R-Montana) joins with Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) to introduce legislation amending the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) to include their two states as eligible regions. Both previously had introduced separate bills.

Chechen officials announce that investigators found nuclear contamination 58,000 times above safe levels on the premises of a ruined factory. According to prosecutors, it was not clear why the radioactive source had been kept in the Chechen factory, but it posed a severe threat to anyone who came near it. Prosecutors said the contamination was from Cobalt-60–a variation of the isotope cobalt used as a source of radiation in food processing, hospitals, and elsewhere.

North Korea announces that because six-party talks have begun to falter, it will end a freeze on construction of two separate graphite reactors. 

Venezuela announces that a truck carrying a capsule of highly radioactive iridium 192 was stolen the night before. Civil defense director Colonel Antonio Rivero states, “We have a state of emergency at a national and regional level and are looking for the capsule everywhere.”

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) fines the San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) $96,000 for violating requirements related to the storage of spent radioactive fuel and other radioactive material at its decommissioned Humboldt Bay reactor in Northern California. The NRC learns of the violations from a July 2004 PG&E report to the NRC, which indicated three fuel rods as well as radioactive incore detectors could not be accounted for.

Russia test launches its most advanced, albeit developmental, missile. The Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile is fired from the submerged Dmitry Donskoy ballistic missile submarine in the White Sea. It is the second launch of the Bulava, but the first from a submerged and moving submarine.