How fast can a state develop a nuclear device? How do nuclear weapons programs evolve from political decisions? The issue of “nuclear latency” has been widely studied. Yet, the nonproliferation community has endorsed a single measure for latency - the capability to produce fissile materials (highly enriched uranium or plutonium). A direct consequence is that scholars, policy-makers, and nonproliferation experts sometimes trivialize or underestimate the preconditions and requirements of “weaponization” – the robust process of developing, manufacturing, and testing an initial nuclear explosive device. The seminar will draw on multiple historical case-studies to provide insights into the dynamics of nuclear weaponization and will explore their relevance to current nonproliferation policies.

Amit Grober is a research fellow in the Belfer Center's International Security Program and Project on Managing the Atom. His research focuses on the lessons learned from the evolution and decline of military nuclear programs and their implications for nonproliferation policies. Before his fellowship, he worked for the Government of Israel for ten years, where he dealt with research, analysis, and nonproliferation issues. His research interests include, among others: nuclear issues, dynamics of nuclear proliferation, nuclear histories, and strategic surprises. He graduated from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, where he earned B.A. in Mathematics and Physics (cum laude)