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  Timeline of the Nuclear Age 1980s  1987


In this year, Pakistan begins publicly releasing documents showing its sophisticated knowledge of nuclear centrifuges. 

In this year, South Africa agrees to sell 2,000 tons of yellow cake to Romania, but then cancels the deal because Romania is not forthcoming with information about safeguard measures to be applied to the material.

Twenty German judges are arrested for blocking the road in front of the American Air Force base at Mutlangen, West Germany. Judge Ulf Panzer states, "Fifty years ago, during the time of Nazi fascism, we judges and prosecutors allegedly ’did not know anything.’ By closing our eyes and ears, our hearts and minds, we became a docile instrument of suppression, and many judges committed cruel crimes under the cloak of the law. We have been guilty of complicity. Today we are on the way to becoming guilty again, to being abused again. By our passivity, but also by applying laws, we legitimize terror: nuclear terror. Today we do know. We know that it needs only the push of a button and all Germany, Europe, the whole world, will be a radiating desert without human life. It is because we know this that we have to act. Many of us judges have organized ’Judges and Prosecutors for Peace.’ We have raised our voices in warning against nuclear death. We have worked with local peace groups, advertised against nuclear armaments, demonstrated and submitted resolutions to our parliament...Our warnings have died away unheard. That is the reason why we today block the U.S. air base in Mutlangen. We hope that such an action will be heard more loudly than all our words before."

The AEC issues a statement that it has promised the US government that it will observe the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and adhere to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines.

The Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials enters into force. [see March 3, 1980]

The Soviet Union ends an eighteen-month unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing, announcing its willingness to resume the moratorium if the United States will do the same.

The New Zealand parliament passes the Nuclear Free Zone Arms Control and Disarmament Act. The legislation formalizes New Zealand’s ban on its ports of nuclear powered ships, and vessels believed to be carrying nuclear explosives. The New Zealand government refuses to accept the long-standing practice of the U.S. Navy to "neither confirm nor deny" whether a ship is carrying nuclear weapons.

Secretary of State George Schultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardmadze sign the Agreement on Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers at the White House Rose Garden. The accord sets up a second Moscow-Washington direct communications link for exchange of information on ballistic missile tests and other matters.

The West puts pressure on South Africa to accede to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or risk losing its privileges as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency

Iraqi warplanes attack Iran's Bushehr nuclear power complex for the fourth time.

Iraqi planes attack the construction site of a nuclear power plant in Bushehr, Iran.

The Soviet Union and the United States sign the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty at Washington. The Treaty eliminates all land-based missiles held by the two states with ranges between 300 miles and 3,400 miles, which is the first time an entire class of nuclear weapons has been eliminated.