Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material
Cuban Missile Crisis
Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP)
First Strike Capability
Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty
Measurement and Signature Intelligence
Mutually Assured Destruction
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ)
Nuclear Weapon States
Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty
Peaceful Nuclear Explosions (PNEs)
Permissive Action Link (PAL)
Reliable Replacement Warhead Project
Seabed Arms Control Treaty
Second Strike Capability
Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT)
Strategic Nuclear Weapon
Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty
Tactical Nuclear Weapon
United States Department of Energy
U.S.–India Civil Nuclear Agreement
When two or more groups, entities or states compete in quality and quantity of arms.
Starting with the first massive, public use of nuclear power over Hiroshima in 1945, this period extends into present day and includes the creation of nuclear medicine and nuclear accidents such as 3 Mile Island and Fukushima.
A rocket that follows a sub-orbital trajectory while delivering its payload. Most ballistic missiles use multi-stage rockets.
This highly toxic element is used to moderate neutron activity in fissile reactions.
A legally binding agreement signed in 1980 establishing measures related to the prevention, detection, and punishment of offenses relating to nuclear material.
Warfare conducted using conventional weapons against conventional targets. Conventional weapons can include guns, nonnuclear missiles, tanks, and bombs.
A nuclear war-fighting theory that encourages retaliation on military targets.
A nuclear war-fighting theory that encourages retaliation on civilian targets.
The most dangerous 13 days in human history. Caused by the stationing of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuban, this crisis was the first crisis of the nuclear age.
Also known as “heavy hydrogen”, this isotope is used in fusion weapons, as a neutron moderator and in the production of tritium.
A weapon that uses conventional explosives to disperse radioactive material.
A burst of electromagnetic radiation usually resulting from high energy explosions. EMPs can cause surges for electronic devices and render them unusable.
The act of refining radioactive material to a higher level of purity.
Toxic radioactive dust and other vaporized material resulting from a nuclear explosion.
The ability to initiate nuclear conflict.
Material capable of sustaining a nuclear chain reaction.
An international treaty proposed to prohibit production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.
A bomb in which energy is released by the splitting of the nuclei of a heavy element such as uranium or plutonium.
When a fission bomb fails to convert all of its fissile material into explosive energy.
A bomb which isotopes of hydrogen fuse together and through and thereby release enormous amounts of energy. Pure fusion bombs have not yet been invented but fusion bombs started by a fission reaction do exist.
An explosive force equivalent to that of 1,000 metric tons of TNT
A government research project which produced the first atomic bombs in World War II
A branch of intelligence gathering that when focussed on nuclear weapon activities utilizes airborne particle measurements and seismic detection.
An explosive force equivalent to that of 1,000,000 metric tons of TNT
When a nuclear reactor overheats and melts through its containment vessel.
A defense theory in which a state possesses no more nuclear weapons than necessary to deter an adversary from attacking.
A system, weapon, or technology involved in the detection, interception, and destruction of attacking missiles.
A doctrine of military strategy in which the full scale use of nuclear weapons by two opposing sides would result in the destruction of both sides. This doctrine’s meant to keep nuclear weapon states from firing upon each other.
One of the only two cities ever to have a nuclear weapon released upon them.
A type of thermonuclear weapon designed to release radiation capable of penetrating through thick protective materials such as armor.
The process of tracing the origin of nuclear material that has been used in a nuclear explosion.
The acts of reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons.
A man-made explosion caused by nuclear fission and/or fusion.
The spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information to nations not recognized as Nuclear Weapon States.
A nuclear deterrence policy involving the rotation and stationing of US nuclear arms in NATO member countries. Prior to the end of the Cold War, the Soviet Union also used this strategy.
A multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export of materials used to make nuclear weapons.
A nuclear arsenal consisting of three components, traditionally strategic bombers, Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, and Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles.
The detonation of a nuclear bomb containing fissile material by terrorists.
The test of a nuclear weapon to evaluate its functionality.
A portion of the world defined by the United Nations where the use, deployment, and development of nuclear weapons is banned.
Countries known to have nuclear weapons.
A treaty prohibiting all nuclear test detonations except those underground.
Nuclear Explosions done for non-military purposes (e.g. demolition). These explosions were however prohibited by the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
A security system for nuclear weapons where the aiming or detonation of a nuclear weapon cannot occur without authorization from a commanding entity.
Plutonium is one of two materials that can be used to create nuclear weapons. In nature, plutonium is only found in trace amounts. Pu-239 is primarily used in weapons while Pu-241 is used in reactors.
Extremely rare in nature, polonium is a highly toxic element that is produced through the irradiation of bismuth. Polonium can be used as an internal neutron initiator, assisting the overall neutron reaction needed to produce a nuclear explosion. Interestingly, polonium is also found tobacco.
The spread of nuclear weapons. See nuclear proliferation.
A project to create simple nuclear warheads with interchangeable parts. Initiated by the US Congress in 2004, this program was shut down by 2009.
An international agreement banning a country from placing nuclear weapons more than 12.2 miles off of their coast.
The ability for a nuclear arsenal to survive a nuclear attack and then have the ability to retaliate. This capability is often seen in nuclear-armed submarines and silos.
A series of disarmament treaties between the United States and Russia.
Two rounds of talks between the US and Soviet Union regarding arms control. These talks resulted in the agreements SALT 1 & SALT 2, both of which helped curb the production of nuclear weapons in the two countries.
A nuclear weapon designed to be used as part of an overarching strategic plan. These are usually housed in silos or submarines. Strategic nuclear weapons ensure mutually assured destruction.
An arms reduction treaty between the United States and Russia enforced from 2003 until 2011 when it was superseded by the New START treaty.
A nuclear weapon designed to be used on a battlefield. e.g. short-range missiles, torpedoes, etc.
A jacket for the fissile pit made of dense materials and used to moderate neutron reactions.
The first nuclear detonation test ever conducted. It occurred in New Mexico on July 16, 1945.
A government agency tasked with regulating and pursuing US energy needs. This agency also partakes in the maintenance and research surrounding nuclear weapons
Signed in 2005, this agreement facilitates nuclear cooperation between the US and India even though India is not a member of the NPT.
Uranium is one of two materials that can be used to create nuclear weapons. In nature, uranium is most commonly found as U-238 although enriched U-235 is required for nuclear weapons. Uranium is a fissile material and is also used in nuclear reactors.
An option on most modern nuclear weapons where the operator can choose the explosive power of that weapon.
The amount of energy released from a nuclear explosion.