Jeffrey LewisA Belated, Happy Easter

Reader MP sends along a picture of nine easter eggs — one for each state with nuclear weapons

He explains:

Thought you might find this interesting – the flags of the nine states that possess nuclear weapons, arranged in the order in which they first tested, on Easter eggs. I made these today in about five hours with a department store egg decorating kit.

Sheer genius.


  1. krepon (History)

    yolk yuks?

  2. shaheen (History)

    egg-shaped fissile core primaries?

    • anon (History)

      aka “aspherical”

  3. bob (History)

    I would like to add one, preferably a bigger one, for South Africa. I realise they didn’t test, (because they didn’t need to), but they did possess, then dismantle.

    I think they should be celebrated somehow as the exemplar, not consigned to the dustbin of history.

    • Kevin (History)

      A South African Cadbury Bunny?

  4. Allen Thomson (History)

    On the South Africa and Israel testing bit, what’s the current expert opinion on the 1979 Vela event?

    Nuke? Non-nuke? Israel? South Africa? Somebody else? Space aliens?

    • FSB (History)
    • FSB (History)

      oh and also:

      But note that recent evidence from observatories also shows gamma rays from thunder storms. I’ll dig that out soon.

    • John Schilling (History)

      The OSTE evaluation has always read to me as if someone was given the marching orders, “we really, really don’t want to have to take official notice of a nuclear test by one of our allies this year, so you really, really want to conclude that there was maybe an instrument malfunction”. Which, regardless of the underlying facts, creates enough obfuscation that even expert outsiders will probably never be sure what happened.

      Nontheless, the most credible and most widely accepted hypothesis seems to be that it was a test of an Israeli device conducted with South African logistical support. What the South Africans got out of it is unknown; the obvious explanation was some sort of nuclear quid pro quo, but what we know of S. Africa’s bomb program doesn’t seem to have much room for Israeli assistance, and there was plenty of non-nuclear technical cooperation between the two in that era. I wouldn’t rule out, e.g., logistical support for a nuclear test in exchance for technical assistance in maintaining/updating orphaned Mirage III jets, or something like that.

      What sort of device the Israelis might have been testing, majority opinion seems to be a small tactical weapon but I also consider a fusion primary to be a credible possibility. And, of course, the same physics package can serve both purposes.

  5. Raj47 (History)


  6. FSB (History)

    Though thunderstorms can produce gamma peaks, these should be at 511 keV:

    The double hump seen in the vela incident was different:

    and the hydroacoustic evidence points to a bomb

  7. hilary (History)

    “…….. arranged in the order in which they first tested, on Easter eggs…..”

    ….and Christmas Island.

    Perhaps would be the full sentence !!

  8. L (History)

    This is sooo cool! Such a pity my government is a bit short on cash and thus nobody can write a memo arguing we should have an egg too. Or two. Sooo unfortunate! This coolness is sooooo contagious…

  9. FSB (History)

    reposting: Though thunderstorms can produce gamma peaks, these should be at 511 keV:

  10. Paul Kerr (History)

    I blogged a while back that Tyler Drumheller wrote in his book that his sources “provided incontrovertible evidence that the apartheid government had in fact tested a nuclear bomb in the south Atlantic in 1979, and that they had developed a delivery system with assistance from the Israelis.” No details, though.

    • Allen Thomson (History)

      I tried to contact Drumheller when that came out, but (not surprisingly) got no response. FWIW, a couple of people who have followed the Vela story over the years expressed considerable skepticism concerning his account.

  11. archjr (History)

    FSB’s citation is in part also a personal recollection by my old Senate counterpart and sometime nemesis, Len Weiss. I can attest to the intense and private political interest. It was an early lesson in which issues in government are “above your pay grade,” as I was told at the time.

  12. THU (History)

    And thus, DPRK gets recognition as a nuclear weapon state, their long-time wish.

  13. Alex (History)

    Aww. Ain’t that sweet!