Building the Bombs: A History of the Nuclear Weapons Complex

Building the Bombs: A History of the Nuclear Weapons Complex
Building the Bombs: A History of the Nuclear Weapons Complex
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Sand # 2012-7878P. Gives a brief orientation to the Nuclear Weapons Complex. Includes discussions of the original missions assigned to each site and the major changes that were made thereafter. Designed to serve the scientists and engineers as well as the average person who does not have advanced technical training.

This book presents a clear overview of the government-owned, contractor-operated laboratories and plants that designed, produced, and tested all nuclear weapons for the United States. It traces the history of that nuclear weapons complex (NWC) from its origins in the Manhattan Project to its current status as the National Security Administration (NSA) of the Department of Energy.

The readable text is enhanced with illustrations, charts, and interesting episodes. An epilogue provides the author's answers to common questions about the NWC. Appendices include the agreement between the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the Department of Defense (DOD) on responsibilities for nuclear weapons (1953), The National Environmental Policy Act (1970), and a brief summary of nuclear weapons treaties from 1963 to 1997.

The second edition includes the reorganization of the National Nuclear Security Administration in 2002 and the Senate's radification of the Moscow Treaty in 2003. There is also a new section on binding energy and mass defect.


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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1977-1980, Volume XXVI, Arms Control and Nonproliferation can be found here:

Nuclear Weapons Materials Gone Missing: What Does History Teach? can be found here:

Underestimated: Our Not So Peaceful Nuclear Future can be found here::

Nuclear Regulatory Legislation, 109th Congress, 2nd Session is available here:

Nuclear Regulatory Legislation, 110th Congress, 2d Session, Volumes 1 And 2 is available here:

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission Information Digest 2008-2009 is available here:

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission Information Digest 2010-2011 is avaialble here:


Anyone interested in the history of nuclear weapons would find this publication informative.


Reviews: – Devin Elliott gave this book a 4 star (****) out of a 5-star rating on  He also had this to say about this print publication:

"A great read on the history and technical aspects of the Nuclear Weapons Complex and the duties it has and had throughout the years. Loeber provides several diagrams, graphics, and explanations on the average reader who might not be so educated in nuclear arms and history like he is, so it's extremely helpful on his end. If you're looking to read about the history of nukes, this is a great starting point!"

Sarah gave this book three stars (***) out of a 5-star rating on and had this to say about this print publication:

"Though the book gets a little [more] technical than I really appreciated in a couple places, I found it an easy read overall and I also learned a lot about the U.S.A.'s nuclear program. Loeber also seemed to have a very reasonable perspective about the whole issue.”

Lance rated with four stars (****) and had this to say:

"Very good history of the Nuclear program and how it came to be where it is today."

Michael Rubeling gave it a 5-star rating (*****)
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Energy Dept., Sandia National Laboratories
  • Loeber, Charles R.
Key Phrases:
  • Sand # 2012-7878P
  • History of Nuclear Weapons Complex
  • Nuclear Weapons History
  • Nuclear weapons, United States, History
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