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Feds: Hydrogen Bomb Physicist's Book Reveals Too Much

By    |   Monday, 23 Mar 2015 06:46 PM

A physicist who worked on the first hydrogen bomb more than 60 years ago has published a memoir about the project that contains details the U.S. government ordered him to delete, but he is unlikely to face punishment as a result, The New York Times reports.

Kenneth W. Ford, 88, argued that certain deletions demanded last year by the Department of Energy (DOE) would "eviscerate" his book, "Building the H Bomb: A Personal History," which he said reveals nothing about thermonuclear weaponry that isn't already in the public sphere.

The book is available in electronic form now, and is due in print in May.

Ford, who spent his career in academia after working on the hydrogen bomb in 1950-1952, told the Times that he submitted the manuscript to DOE for a security review, and that they demanded he cut about 10 percent of it.

The book's discussion of "design nuances of a successful thermonuclear weapons program" would "encourage" aspiring nuclear powers, a DOE official wrote to Ford in 2014.

Ford objected, writing back that the agency's requested cuts would "destroy the book" and excise material already out in the open.

The two sides haggled for several months until January, after which Ford authorized his publisher, World Scientific in Singapore, to release an e-book version with some minor changes and deletions demanded by the federal government, but with most of the original material still in place.

Department of Energy officials declined to discuss the book, the Times reports, noting that "atomic pioneers and other insiders — in talks, books, articles and television shows — have divulged many nuclear secrets over the decades and have rarely faced any consequences."

Developed during the Cold War, the hydrogen bomb is estimated to be 1,000 times as powerful as the atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.

Ford said his motive for telling the story wasn't humanitarian: "I just wanted to get my book published."

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A physicist who worked on the first hydrogen bomb more than 60 years ago has published a memoir about the project that contains details the U.S. government ordered him to delete, but he is unlikely to face punishment as a result, The New York Times reports.
hydrogen, bomb, physicist, book, reveals, information, Kenneth Ford
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2015-46-23
Monday, 23 Mar 2015 06:46 PM
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