U.S. – U.K. honor 60 years of nuclear collaboration

In front of the Icecap tower at the NNSS.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the U.S.–U.K. Mutual Defense Agreement (MDA), which provides for the exchange of defense information relevant to nuclear weapons, naval nuclear propulsion, and nuclear threat reduction. On July 3, 1958, U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and British Minister Samuel Hood signed the Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the United States of America for Cooperation on the Uses of Atomic Energy for Mutual Defense Purposes. The MDA is a cornerstone of our nuclear deterrent and ensures the security of both the United States and United Kingdom.

To commemorate the event, several guests from the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), British Ministry of Defence, and British Defence Staff from the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., visited the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) Sept. 19. The visitors were able to see first-hand some of the current work taking place at the Site. A special stop was made at the Icecap tower, the site of a U.S.–U.K. underground nuclear test scheduled for the spring of 1993, but halted by the Underground Nuclear Testing Moratorium.

A reception and dinner also took place Sept. 20 at the National Atomic Testing Museum to mark the opening of a temporary MDA 60th anniversary exhibit. Notable guests included two former Department of Energy undersecretaries for nuclear security and administrators of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Ambassador Linton Brooks and Tom D’Agostino, both of whom spoke about the continued importance of the U.S.–U.K. partnership.

Exhibit ribbon-cutting with Nevada Test Site Historical Foundation (NTSHF) Chair Emeritus Troy Wade, NTSHF Vice President Chuck Costa, and AWE’s Peter Sankey and Steve Fisher.

“This exhibit is about the past, but also reflects successes that have come from the agreement,” said Ambassador Brooks. “Our nuclear relationship has made both nations stronger.”

AWE Senior Technical Adviser Peter Sankey also shared remarks, and Dr. Richard Moore, AWE historian, gave a presentation on the history of the MDA following the exhibit ribbon cutting. The exhibit is on display in the museum’s theater through the end of the year.