Mexico and weapons of mass destruction


Mexico and weapons of mass destruction

Mexico is one of the few countries which has capabilities to manufacture nuclear weapons but has renounced them and pledged to only use its nuclear technology for peaceful purposes following the Treaty of Tlatelolco in 1968.[1] In the 1970s Mexico's national institute for nuclear research successfully enriched weapons-grade uranium [2] which is used in the construction of nuclear weapons. However in April 2010, Mexico agreed to turn over its weapons-grade uranium to the United States.[3][4] This agreement hasn't been approved by the Mexican Congress and the uranium remains in Mexico.

Contents

Weapons-grade uranium refinement and clandestine nuclear program

Beginning in the late 1960s the Mexican army began working with the Mexican National Nuclear Investigation Institute or "ININ" (now part of CFE), the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and the former Mexican space agency CONE (now being refounded with several other groups into the Mexican Space Agency, AEM) to begin the process of manufacturing the necessary components to build and deliver nuclear weapons and their respective military systems.

Researchers from UNAM, ININ and the Mexican army were successful in highly-enriching uranium until reaching weapons-grade by 1974.[5] The plan for delivery of the nuclear weapons was to fit a warhead on a modified variant of the space launch rockets built by CONE (footage:[6][7][8][9]).

The project was approved by President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz in 1968 following the Tlatelolco massacre, due to fear of possible influence from communist powers (Red scare). During these years the Mexican military went through a large modernization and expansion including new armored vehicles, guns, and aircraft. The Mexican government however could not openly create a nuclear weapon at this time due to the fact that Mexico had signed the Treaty of Tlatelolco in which Mexico agreed not to manufacture nuclear weapons and to limit its nuclear technology for peaceful purposes only.[1]

Mexico's nuclear research institute[10] does possess weapons-grade uranium and the technology to refine it, however it is not known if Mexico ever did successfully build nuclear weapons.[1]

Current status

In April 2010, the Mexican government reportedly reached an agreement to turn over its weapons-grade uranium to the United States[3][4] but this has not yet been approved by the Mexican Congress and the uranium remains in the country. It is not known if Mexico successfully tested a nuclear weapon although some have theorized that Mexico could have been a potential party in the nuclear detonation known as the Vela Incident. It is possible that the Mexican Army does possess nuclear weapons or is still keeping open the possibility of obtaining nuclear weapons as the Mexican military continues to have a presence in Mexico's nuclear research institutes and maintains oversight over a nuclear research reactor of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.[11]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Text of the Treaty of Tlatelolco". Opanal.org. 1963-11-27. http://www.opanal.org/opanal/Tlatelolco/Tlatelolco-i.htm. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  2. ^ "Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Nucleares". inin.gob.mx. http://www.inin.gob.mx/. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  3. ^ a b "Mexico to slash weapons-grade uranium". UPI.com. http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Special/2010/04/13/Mexico-to-slash-weapons-grade-uranium/UPI-91401271180679/. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  4. ^ a b "Russia and US to dispose of tonnes of surplus plutonium". BBC News. 2010-04-13. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8618066.stm. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  5. ^ "Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Nucleares". inin.gob.mx. http://www.inin.gob.mx/. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  6. ^ “” (2007-12-18). "Mas alla del Cielo de Leonardo Ferrera,Televisa (parte1/4)". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpzJQJ8jgZg&feature=player_embedded. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  7. ^ “” (2007-12-18). "Mas alla del Cielo de Leonardo Ferrera,Televisa (parte 2/4)". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-DVEnUk_XQ&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  8. ^ “” (2007-12-18). "Mas alla del Cielo de Leonardo Ferrera,Televisa (parte 3/4)". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wNPDBaXZW0&feature=BF&list=ULMHPVqMgNYBM&index=3. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  9. ^ “” (2007-12-18). "Mas alla del Cielo de Leonardo Ferrera,Televisa (parte 4/4)". YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJtt49SoddQ&feature=BF&list=ULMHPVqMgNYBM&index=4. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  10. ^ "Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Nucleares". Inin.gob.mx. http://www.inin.gob.mx/. Retrieved 2010-12-19. 
  11. ^ http://www.iaea.org/Publications/Magazines/Bulletin/Bull284/28405391416.pdf

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