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The Internet and the Bomb:
A Research Guide to Policy and Information about Nuclear Weapons

Table of Contents | Quick Guides | NRDC Nuclear Data | General Information | U.S. Executive Branch | U.S. Congress | International Governmental Organizations | Non-Govermental Organizations | Nuclear Weapons Issues


The transformation of the Internet into a viable and valuable public policy research tool has occurred in the past two years chiefly because of the efforts of the U.S. government to make greater and greater use of the electronic medium. A mountain of serious information is now online -- news, government decisions, background reference materials, facts and data about a full range of U.S. government programs. This Research Guide is a first attempt to document Internet resources in the nuclear weapons field by mainly concentrating on U.S. government information, policy, and programs.

A future guide will attempt to catalog the Internet resources that cover policy and information about Russian, British, French, and Chinese nuclear forces and capabilities (some Russian sites are listed in Chapter Six). The U.S. government example of providing an enormous amount of information -- particularly regarding national security matters -- is worthy of emulation.

The Guide is organized into six chapters and five appendices. Chapter One covers general information and research tools useful for searches and for keeping informed. Chapters Two, Three, Four and Five describe the homepages of U.S. governmental (executive and legislative), international governmental, and non-governmental organizations. Chapter Six covers five issue areas -- nuclear weapons policy, arms control and disarmament, nuclear forces and weapons, production and dismantlement, and spending and contracting -- where there are significant online resources. The appendices are chronological or thematic bibliographies of over 500 full-text treaties, regulations, military directives, reports, and government statements and speeches dealing with various aspects of nuclear weapons and arms control. A list of acronyms used in the Guide is included at the end.

Though the new Internet medium has prompted some to sound an alarm about breaches of information security, it should be pointed out that the dissemination of information has long been at the center of concern regarding the potential for the proliferation of nuclear technology. What the Internet represents is simply easier access to a mass of government information that was already in the public domain. None of the fundamental rules about governmental security classification have been transformed, in fact the U.S. government has established rigorous new rules about the dissemination of information over the Internet.

The current basic laws and regulations regarding the classification system are Executive Order 12968, Access to Classified Information (dated 4 August 1995) and Executive Order 12958, Classified National Security Information (17 April 1995), both available from the White House homepage. The Departments of Defense and Energy also have posted their security regulations online (see Appendix C), and the Public Guidelines for Department of Energy Classification of Information are accessible at http://www.osti.gov/html/osti/opennet/document/guidline/pubgc.html#ZZ0 . Former Secretary Hazel O'Leary instituted a large scale effort to declassify DOE documents and information. The DOE OPENNET (located at http://www.osti.gov/html/osti/opennet/opennet1.html) is the Department's online declassification database, including references to declassified and publicly available documents after 1 October 1994. The documents are of different types: declassified in total ("declassified"); classified or restricted in some way ("sanitized" or "redacted"); unclassified but of historical interest. Searches of the database can be performed at http://www.osti.gov/waisgate/opennet.new.html. Through OPENNET, one can also gain access to the minutes of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Openness Advisory Panel.

Quick Guide to Official Homepages

Air Force
Arms Control and Disarmament Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
Department of Defense
Department of Energy
Department of State
Federal Emergency Management Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency
Joint Chiefs of Staff
Livermore National Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Sandia National Laboratories
White House

Non-governmental organizations involved in the public policy process are also fundamental resources. Chapter Five contains a listing of the main groups across the political spectrum. Some organizations merely make available brief fact sheets about their activities and personnel, while others have extensive libraries of news, documents, and reports. In particular, the Henry L. Stimson Center and the Federation of American Scientists -- two Washington-based groups -- have spearheaded an organizational effort to use the Internet to disseminate information. The Stimson Center and the Center for Non-Proliferation Studies (CNS) at the Monterey Institute of International Studies also maintain online guides to nuclear arms control and nuclear issues.

A Pocket Guide to Nonproliferation Research on the Internet

The Internet Guide for Elimination Research (TIGER)

A number of organizations and private individuals have also created nuclear-related Internet directories containing links, historical documents, glossaries, references, timelines of the Nuclear Age, and selected photographs and video. Sites such as the High Energy Weapons Archive or Todd's Atomic Homepage contain informative FAQs regarding current and historical issues (such as links to Manhattan Project and Hiroshima/Nagasaki 50th anniversary sites and the Enola Gay controversy). Table 3 is a list of some of these nuclear clearinghouses.

Nuclear Clearinghouses on the Web

Atomic Archive
A cursory treatment of key figures, historical documents, timelines, photos and videos of the beginnings of the atomic age.

Bureau of Atomic Tourism
Clever tourist guide to locations of atomic explosions, museums, and nuclear archeological sites.

Chuck Hansen's "Sword's of Armageddon"
Excerpts and samples from a 2500-page CD-ROM on U.S. nuclear weapons developments.

High Energy Weapons Archive
Has a tendency to plagarize other people's research without attribution and then invoke copyright privilege, a practice that would bring legal action if done in print form.

Infomanage Nonproliferation Resources
Provides resources on weapons of mass destruction, conflict resolution and intelligence. It is unclear who sponsors and maintains this site.

Internet Connections for Engineering (ICE) Index
Cornell University lists of links to chemistry, math, physics and engineering resources.

International Affairs Resources (World Wide Web Virtual Library/IANWeb)
Excellent academic-oriented international relations directory organized by type, source, or topic.

International Relations and Security Network (ISN) (Switzerland)
A project to promote electronic communications maintained by the Zurich-based Center for Security Studies and Conflict Resolution.

Jayne Loader's Public Shelter
Offbeat site maintained by one of the makers of the 1982 film "The Atomic Cafe."

Nuclear Information World Wide Web Server
Focused almost exclusively on nuclear power issues, somewhat dated.

Todd's Atomic Homepage
Useful listings of links to resources on nuclear engineering, computing, reactors, health effects, and weapons.

The Internet and the Bomb: A Research Guide to Policy and Information about Nuclear Weapons is written and maintained by William M. Arkin and Robert S. Norris. Any questions, comments or suggestions should be sent to the authors at warkin@igc.org and rnorris@nrdc.org. This page was last updated 5/1/97

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