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  Timeline of the Nuclear Age 2010s  2012


The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves its "Doomsday Clock" from six to five minutes to midnight, citing nuclear weapons, nuclear energy and climate change as perilous threats to humanity.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announces that the Navy will delay by two years its long-range plans to build new submarines that carry nuclear weapons. The decision is reportedly intended to ease current budget pressures.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo says that the United States has finally promised to help clean up radioactive land from a 1966 accident involving U.S. nuclear weapons at Palomares.

Argentina lodges a formal protest at the United Nations accusing the United Kingdom of deploying nuclear weapons near the Falkland Islands. The UK has refused to say whether or not a Vanguard submarine, which carries nuclear weapons, is in the area.

President Obama releases his FY2013 budget proposal, which would put on hold for five years plans to build the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Budget documents submitted to Congress show that the Air Force will delay development of a replacement for the Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on nuclear bomber aircraft. Development of the new weapon is estimated to cost $1.3 billion.

Fifteen activists are arrested for trespassing at Vandenberg Air Force Base while protesting the test launch of a Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile from Vandenberg to Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, the U.S. Army’s Commander in Europe, states that the X-band radar site in Turkey as part of NATO’s missile defense system is now operational. 

North Korea announces that it will suspend nuclear weapons tests and uranium enrichment activities and allow international inspectors to monitor activities at its Yongbyon nuclear facility. 

U.S. Defense Department officials push back the next missile intercept test from July to December 2012.

In a 4-3 majority vote, the UK Supreme Court rules against a class action lawsuit brought by over 1,000 nuclear test veterans against the Ministry of Defense (MoD).  In the lawsuit, the veterans claimed that they suffered from various health issues such as cancer, skin defects, and fertility problems as a result of 21 nuclear tests carried out by the British government in Australia and Christmas Island in the 1950s.

AUN Human Rights expert visits the Marshall Islands for the first time to assess the impact on human rights of the nuclear tests conducted by the United States between 1946 and 1958.

North Korea fails in its attempt to launch a satellite into space. The launch was widely condemned by leaders of the United States and other countries as a veiled attempt at testing long-range missile technology.

India test-fires an Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a strike range of over 5,000 kilometers.

All 55 of Japan’s nuclear reactors are shut down for safety check and maintenance, leaving Japan without an operating nuclear reactor for the first time since May 1970.

Gen. James E. Cartwright, the retired vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former commander of the United States’ nuclear forces, calls for a drastic reduction in the number of nuclear warheads below the levels set by agreements with Russia.

Participants of the 80th annual U.S. Conference of Mayors adopt a resolution stressing the urgency of reallocating the U.S.’s multi-billion dollar nuclear weapons budget to meet the needs of cities.

U.S. President Barack Obama orders a one-year extension on Executive Order 13159, the declaration of national emergency over Russian nuclear weapon materials. This executive order declares an official state of national emergency and grants permission to U.S. emergency authorities to respond to the threat of Russia’s large volume of nuclear weapon-usable material.

Disarmament representatives from China, France, Great Britain, Russia and the United States meet in Washington, DC for the third conference of the so-called P5 to focus on implementing the Non-Proliferation Treaty

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), the Senate Minority Whip, states that he is unwilling to consider cuts to U.S. nuclear weapons spending in order to comply with the Budget Control Act. According to Kyl, cuts should come from other parts of the federal budget, not the military and nuclear weapons.

General Norton A. Schwartz, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, indicates that he would likely support reductions in the number of nuclear weapons held by the United States in its reserve stockpile.

Minhas Air Force Base in Pakistan. believed to store some of the nation’s nuclear weapons, is attacked by gunmen armed with automatic weapons, grenade launchers and explosives. Eight attackers and one Pakistani security official were killed.

Iran hosts the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, which was attended by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and over 120 “nonaligned” nations.

Russia announces it has dumped an alarming number of decommissioned nuclear reactors and radioactive waste into the Kara Sea, north of Siberia in the Arctic Ocean. Among the waste is 17,000 containers of radioactive waste, 19 ships containing radioactive waste, 14 nuclear reactors, and the K-27 nuclear submarine with its two reactors loaded with nuclear fuel.

Mongolia is officially recognized as a single-state nuclear weapon-free zone. A pledge “to respect the nuclear weapon-free” status of Mongolia and not to contribute to any act that would violate it” is signed by the UN ambassadors for the U.S., U.K., China, France and Russia.

Israel rejects invitation to take part in a conference aimed at establishing a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone scheduled to take place in Finland in late 2012.

In a statement signed by thirty-five nations, the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly calls on all nations to “intensify their efforts to outlaw nuclear weapons and achieve a world free of nuclear weapons.”

The British Ministry of Defense signs a $562 million contract for the development of a new generation of nuclear-armed submarines. 

In response to U.S. plans to place elements of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin states that Russia will retaliate "in the sharpest manner" should any U.S. Aegis-equipped warships approach Russian waters.

Due to current conditions in the region, the United States unilaterally cancels the international conference on establishing a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (MEWMDFZ), originally planned for December 2012 in Finland.

North Korea successfully launches a satellite into orbit.  NATO fear this is part of a program to develop a long range missile that can carry a nuclear warhead.  Tensions on the Korean Peninsula rise.

The Federation of American Scientists publishes a report that states the U.S. and Russia have slowed the rate at which they are reducing their nuclear arsenals.