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Unclear PhysicsWhy Iraq and Libya Failed to Build Nuclear Weapons$
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Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702785

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702785.001.0001

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Searching for Uranium in Libya, 1951–1973

Searching for Uranium in Libya, 1951–1973

(p.127) Chapter 5 Searching for Uranium in Libya, 1951–1973
Unclear Physics

Målfrid Braut-Hegghammer

Cornell University Press

This chapter presents the emergence of nuclear research and development in Libya against the backdrop of an unusually underdeveloped state. In particular, it sheds new light on the drivers and constraints facing the Libyan nuclear project and reveals that the few facts and assumptions that have shaped our understanding of this program are misleading. For example, the Libyan nuclear program began as early as 1970, not in 1973 as Libya later declared. Furthermore, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the Gaddafi regime had very little control over the program, particularly after the 1973 Cultural Revolution eroded Libya's weak state institutions. Foreign scientists and advisers led this program with minimal input from the Libyan state.

Keywords:   nuclear research, Libya, underdeveloped state, Libyan nuclear program, Cultural Revolution, Gaddafi regime

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