1981 Destruction at Osiraq

Following earlier Iranian attacks against the site, a surprise Israeli air strike heavily damages the Osiraq research reactor, which Iraq had purchased from France. Israel claims the reactor is part of a secret Iraqi nuclear weapons program and that IAEA monitoring of the facility is insufficient. These arguments remain controversial; some experts believe the attack actually pushed Iraq’s nuclear activities underground. The revelation in the early 1990s of a secret Iraqi nuclear weapons program underscores the importance of a strong international safeguards regime, which can detect and halt such undeclared activities.


Nuclear Energy Guide: Timeline by the Council on Foreign Relations


Albert Einstein to FDR

Albert Einstein
Old Grove Rd.
Nassau Point
Peconic, Long Island

August 2nd 1939

F.D. Roosevelt
President of the United States
White House
Washington, D.C.


Some recent work by E.Fermi and L. Szilard, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration. I believe therefore that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts and recommendations:
In the course of the last four months it has been made probable – through the work of Joliot in France as well as Fermi and Szilard in America – that it may become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium,by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements would be generated. Now it appears almost certain that this could be achieved in the immediate future.
This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable – though much less certain – that extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory.

Letter from Albert Einstein to FDR, August 2, 1939