Revisiting South Africa’s Nuclear Program - Files of book available

How did South Africa obtain nuclear weapons? How did the apartheid government dismantle this intensely secret program?  In 1989, South Africa made the momentous decision to abandon its nuclear weapons, making it the first and still the only country that has produced nuclear weapons and given them up.  Over thirty years, the apartheid regime had created a remarkably sophisticated capability to build nuclear weapons—both the nuclear warhead and advanced military systems to deliver them.  The program was born in secret and remained so until its end.  The government initially sought to dismantle it in secret.  It hoped to avoid any negative international consequences of possessing nuclear weapons. The apartheid government’s strategy did not work, because too many intelligence agencies knew about South Africa’s nuclear weapons.  Faced with intense pressure, South Africa’s President F.W. de Klerk reversed course and adopted a policy of transparency in 1993.  However, he decided to hide many of its aspects. Nonetheless, most of the remaining secrets emerged over the ensuing 25 years.  Revisiting South Africa’s Nuclear Weapons Program provides the first comprehensive, technically-oriented look at South Africa’s nuclear weapons program; how it grew, evolved, and ended.  It also finds lessons for today’s proliferation cases.

  • A pdf version of the book is available on the Institute’s website. 
  • A pdf version is also available on the website of the Naval Postgraduate School’s Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (PASCC).
  • Ebook versions are available at Smashwords, Kindle, and Nook.
  • A paperback edition (with only black and white photos) is for sale at Amazon.
  • See the book’s press release including a reading guide here.