Nuclear Weapons Time-Line: 1994-2020 (continued)

By Andy Butfoy

      1945   László_Moholy-Nagy, Nuclear I, CH, 1945, Oil and graphite on canvas, 96.5 x 76.2 cm (38 x 30 in.) Chicago Art Institute, image sourced from Wikimedia Commons
      1973   Ti Parks
Polynesian 100 1973 (detail)
metallic paint, ballpoint and fibre-tipped pen, film negative, cloth, (sump oil), cellophone tape and paper on colour photographs
(1-100) 27.8 × 35.8 cm (sheet) (each)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1977 (A30.1-100-1977)
Courtesy The Estate of Ti Parks, with thanks to Kate Nodrum.
      1990   Jimmy Pike, ‘Turtujarti kurrmalyi – A stand of turtujarti’ (1990),
Image courtesy of The Jimmy Pike Estate.  
      1991   Lyn Onus, Maralinga, 1991
styrofoam, resin, fibreglass, acrylic paint, 120.0 x 60.0 x 60.0 cm
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Not included in exhibition.
1994   UK introduces new generation of nuclear armed submarines.
US confronts North Korea over its illegal nuclear program.
January: The US and Russia agree not to target each other with nuclear weapons.
June & October: China conducts two nuclear bomb tests.
October:  US and North Korea sign the ‘Agreed Framework’ on stopping North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons.
1995   May: The 1970 nuclear weapons non-proliferation treaty (NPT) extended indefinitely.
May & August: Two Chinese nuclear bomb tests.
September-December: Five French nuclear bomb tests in the South Pacific.
December: South East Asian nuclear-weapon-free zone opened for signature (entered into force in 1997).
1996   January: France conducts a nuclear bomb test in the South Pacific.
April: African Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba) opened for signature (entered into force in 2009).
June-July: China conducts two nuclear bomb tests.
July: International Court of Justice reports on the legality of the threat or use of nuclear weapons.
September: Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) opened for signature.
1997   France introduces new generation of nuclear armed submarines.
January: US B-2 bomber begins nuclear role.
May: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) modernises and toughens the nuclear safeguards regime aimed at preventing nuclear weapons proliferation.
1998   Russia deploys a new generation of Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).
11th & 13th May 1998: India conducts five nuclear bomb tests.
28th & 30th May 1998: Pakistan conducts six nuclear bomb tests.
December: ‘Operation Desert Fox’ – US and UK bomb alleged Iraqi ‘weapon of mass destruction’ (WMD) sites.
1999   October: US Senate refuses to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).      
2000   Russia adjusts its strategic doctrine to make nuclear weapons more usable (e.g. allowing first-use in a conventional war).      
2001   September: ‘9-11’ terror attacks in New York and Washington.
December: After years of debate, Washington gives notice of withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABMT) with Russia, clearing the way for a national missile defence system.
2002   January: President Bush makes “Axis of Evil” speech associating Iraq, Iran, and North Korea to the linked danger of terrorism and WMD.
May/June: Washington and Moscow sign the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty.
2003   January: North Korea withdraws from the NPT.
March: US-UK-Australian invasion of Iraq, justified in terms of alleged Iraqi WMD. No WMD found.
December: Muammar Al Qadhafi agrees to end Libya’s WMD program and allow international inspections. 
2004   Continuing concern that the Iranian nuclear program is geared to military, rather than civilian, objectives.      
2005   North Korea says it possess nuclear weapons.      
2006   October: North Korea conducts a nuclear bomb test.
September: Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia (CANWFZ) opened for signature (entered into force in 2009).
2007   North Korea agrees to reverse its nuclear program, but fails to follow-through.
January: Four senior former US national security officials – George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger, and Sam Nunn – write an influential article in the Wall Street Journal calling for serious movement toward complete nuclear disarmament.
August: Six nuclear-armed cruise missiles mistakenly loaded on to an American B-52 bomber and flown across the US.
September: Israel bombs suspected Syrian nuclear facility.
Australia moves to lift ban on sale of uranium to India, despite that country refusing to sign the NPT or CTBT. 
2008   Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) grants India a waiver on the prohibition of nuclear sales to non-NPT signatories.      
      2008   Daniela Edburg, Atomic Picnic, 2008, C-Print, Courtesy of the artist.
          Daniela Edburg, The Atomics, 2008, C-Print, Courtesy of the artist.



2009   April: In a major speech in Prague, President Obama pledges to work toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.
May: North Korean nuclear bomb test.
October: President Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize, partly because of his declared aim of working toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.
2010   April: President Obama’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) constrains US nuclear planning, but commits to maintaining deterrence and continues long-standing US policy of refusing to unequivocally rule-out first-use of nuclear weapons.
April: Washington and Moscow sign New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty).
April: President Obama hosts an international ‘Nuclear Security Summit.’
      2010   Simon Starling, Project for a Masquerade (Hiroshima) Sill images from video work, 25:54 minutes featuring mask maker Yasuo Miichi, Osaka and images of Henry Moore’s Atom piece study for 1965 sculpture Nuclear Energy, courtesy of the artist, 2010
2011   March: Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Australia again signals a readiness to sell uranium to India.
      2011   Bontaro Dokuyama, Acchi [Over there], 2015, Video, photographs, watercolours, masks made from the local newspaper in Fukushima for 4 years after March 11, 2011, Courtesy of the artist.
      2011, 2013   Chim↑Pom, The Peace Day 2011, 2013, ©Chim↑Pom, Courtesy of the artist and MUJIN-TO Production.
2012   Increasing international tensions regarding Iran’s nuclear activities.      
2013   February: North Korean nuclear bomb test.
The Obama administration plans a boost in spending on nuclear weapons.
      2013-2020   Raul Ortega Ayala, teaser from The Zone, from the series From the Pit of Et Cetera, 2013-20.
In collaboration with Dmytro Konovalov, Valerii Savytskyi, Roberto Rubalcava, Dmytro Tiazhlov, Iain Frengley, Phil Burton and Tim Prebble. Single channel HD video, 36’ 37”.
Courtesy of the artist
      2013-2020   Raul Ortega Ayala, still from The Zone,
from the series From the Pit of Et Cetera, 2013-20,
Single channel HD video, 36’ 37”, Courtesy of the artist.
2015   American and Israeli conservatives lobby against proposed multilateral nuclear deal with Iran.
July: The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a.k.a. “the Iran nuclear deal”, signed by Iran, USA, UK, China, Russia, France and Germany.
      2015   A Apology
by Natalie Harkin
(in Dirty Words, Cordite Press Inc., Victoria, Australia, 2015, pp.1–2)
      2015   Don't Follow the Wind, Installing the exhibition on site in the Fukushima exclusion zone, 2015, Courtesy of Don’t Follow the Wind.
      2015   Yhonnie Scarce, Thunder Raining Poison, 2015,
2000 Blown glass yams, stainless steel and reinforced wire,
Dimensions variable, Installation view at Tarnanthi Festival Adelaide, Art Gallery of South Australia Photography: Janelle Low,
Image courtesy of the artist, AGSA and THIS IS NO FANTASY
2016   January: North Korean nuclear bomb test.
September: North Korean nuclear bomb test.
      2016   Ali Cobby Eckermann publishes the poem 'Thunder Raining Poison' in Poetry (may 2016) in response to Yhonnie Scarce's installation. 
      2016   Stanislava Pinchuk, Fallout, 'A series of data-maps documenting the new landscape topographies created by the removal of radioactive top-soil in the Fukushima Nuclear Exclusion Zone; plotted as fishnets.'
      2016   The Smoke of Nuclear Modernity drifts through the Anthropocene, By Ele Carpenter. Originally published in X–10 Power of the Land, Catalogue Essay, English / Welsh, edited by Helen Grove–White, chapter 1, 2016, p17–29.
2017   July ‘Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons’, opens for signature at the UN. Many non-nuclear countries sign. Countries with the bomb dismiss or ignore it.
August: Following repeated aggressive statements from North Korea, President Trump threatens the country with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”
September: North Korean nuclear bomb test.
      2017   Maureen Douglas, Iluwanti Ken, Freddy Ken, Naomi Kantjuriny, Nyurpaya Kaika Burton, Kunmanara Kaika Burton, Rupert Jack, Adrian Intjalki, Kunmanara (Gordon) Ingkatji, Arnie Frank, Kunmanara (Ronnie) Douglas, Errol Morris, Taylor Wanyima Cooper, Noel Burton, Kunmanara (Hector) Burton, Cisco Burton, Angela Burton, Moses Brady, Freda Brady, Stanley Douglas, Keith Stevens, Yaritji Young, Marcus Young, Kamurin Young, Frank Young, Carol Young, Anwar Young, Mumu Mike Williams, Ginger Wikilyiri, Mr Wangin, Lyndon Tjangala, Graham Kulyuru, Lydon Stevens, Mary Katatjuku Pan, Kevin Morris, Mark Morris, Bernard Tjalkuri, Kunmanara (Tiger) Palpatja, Kunmanara (Willy Muntjantji) Martin, William Tjapaltjarri Sandy, Pitjantjatjara people, South Australia; Kunmanara (Ray) Ken, Kunmanara (Brenton) Ken, Witjiti George, Sammy Dodd, Mick Wikilyiri, Priscilla Singer, Pitjantjatjara/ Yankunytjatjara people, South Australia; Alec Baker, Margaret Ngilan Dodd, Eric Mungi Kunmanara Barney, Peter Mungkuri, David Pearson, Kunmanara (Jimmy) Pompey, Yankunytjatjara people, South Australia; Jimmy Donegan, Ngaanyatjarra people, Western Australia/Pitjantjatjara people, South Australia; Pepai Jangala Carroll, Michael Bruno, Pitjantjatjara people, South Australia/Luritja people, Northern Territory; Roma Young, Ngaanyatjarra people, Western Australia/ Pitjantjatjara people, South Australia; Aaron Riley, Adrian Riley, Walpiri people, Northern Territory; Vincent Namatjira, Western Arrernte people, Northern Territory, Kuḻaṯa Tjuṯa, 2017, Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, South Australia, wood, spinifex resin, kangaroo tendon, plus 6 channel DVD with sound, (dimensions variable); Acquisition through Tarnanthi: Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art supported by BHP 2017, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. 
      2017   Betty Muffler,
Ngangkari Ngura – Healing Country , 2017
Acrylic on linen
167.8 x 244.5 x 5.2 cm
made on Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands, South Australia
Australian War Memorial, AWM2017.1296.1
Courtesy of the artist and Iwantja Arts
      2017   Meiro Koizumi, To Laugh, 2017, installation, video, audio track, [video still], commissioned for Don't Follow the Wind: Non-Visitor Center, Fast Forward Festival, Athens, Courtesy of the artist.
      2017   Stanislava Pinchuk, Sarcophagus, exhibition of a series ‘Chernobyl Reactor 4 { Data Map : Topographic Radioactivity }, 2017
2018   January: Regarding North Korean leader Kim’s reference to his “nuclear button”, President Trump says he has “a much bigger…one than his.”
February: President Trump’s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) widens the circumstances in which Washington might use nuclear weapons. The review promotes the development of new nuclear weapon capabilities.
May: USA withdraws from the Iran nuclear deal.
June: Historic US-North Korean summit in Singapore. President Trump says: “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.”  (Later, Trump said, "I like [Kim]… we fell in love... He wrote me beautiful letters.")
December: Evidence of North Korea continuing its nuclear weapons program.
      2018   Anointed, produced by PREL, written by Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner and directed by Dan Lin, 2018. 
2019   Accusing Russia of cheating, the US withdraws from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
Citing the 2018 US abandonment of the multilateral agreement to contain Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran announces it will no longer be bound by the deal.
      2019    chapter 'Anti-Nuclear Protest' in Stephanie Gibson, Matariki Williams and Puawai Cairns, Protest Tautohetohe: Objects of Resistance, Persistence and Defiance,Te Papa Press, November 2019.
          Re_FreedomAichi, #YOurFreedom, collaboration between artists and exhibitions visitors of the Aichi Triennale 2019, Image: Kyun-Chome, Courtesy of Kyun-Chome.
          Hikaru Fujii, Les nucléaires et les choses, 2019, Video still, Fukushima Cultural Property Center, Courtesy of the artist.
          Tessa Rex, Yul Scarf, Jessie Boylan, Andrea Steves, Alex Moulis, Gem Romuld and Crunch Kefford, Bladerunner was set in November 2019, Installation view at Kings Artist-Run, Melbourne, 2019.
          Dr Ponk with Aunty Sue Coleman-Haseldine, to the future generations, 19th- 20th August 2019, fire, country, keeping, sharing, knowledge with typewriter on paper, smaller than A4. Courtesy the artists.
          Dr Ponk with Avon Hudson, Dear Maralinga, 17th August 2019, time, reflection & typewriter on paper, smaller than A4. Courtesy the artists.
          Dr Ponk with Russell 'Shane' Bryant, the story of my father's father, remembering, story telling, 3 fires, waru, generations, resilience, facts with typewriter on papers, smaller than A4. Page 1 of 2. Courtesy the artists.
          Dr Ponk with Russell 'Shane' Bryant, the story of my father's father, remembering, story telling, 3 fires, waru, generations, resilience, facts with typewriter on papers, smaller than A4. Page 2 of 2. Courtesy the artists.
          Dr Ponk with Russell 'Shane' Bryant and Aunty Rita Bryant, Camping outside Yalata, talking, listening, while other things are happening with typewriter on paper, smaller than A4. Courtesy the artists.
          Dr Ponk, All the letters on the road to Maralinga, August-September 2019, layers of conversations on carbon copy paper, foolscap. Courtesy the artist.
      2019   Lisa Radford and Yhonnie Scarce travel to research nuclear sites.
2020   March: Reports of Iran increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium.
October: North Korea reveals large new ICBM.
October: The Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons gains its 50th state ratification. This is supposedly sufficient for the treaty to become international law by early 2021. The event is dismissed or ignored by nuclear-armed states (as well as some others, such as the Australian government).
      2020   View of Pedro Reyes' Amnesia Atomica and Nohbords dance,
with costumes designed by Carla Fernández, 2020,
Plaza de las Tres Culturas, Tlatelolco, Mexico City,
Courtesy of the artist and LABOR Gallery.
          In 2020,  Lisa Radford and Yhonnie Scarce with Freya Pitt and Azza Zein edit The image is not nothing, (Concrete Archives) for Art+Australia Online.



References & further reading

Arms Control Association,

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists,

Butfoy, Andy. Disarming proposals: controlling nuclear, biological and chemical weapons (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 2005).

Butfoy, Andy. “Doomsday postponed”, Inside Story, March 2020,

Federation of American Scientists,

International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN),

Nuclear Threat Initiative,


The Nuclear Vault, National Security Archive,


[Andy Butfoy, 28th October, 2020]