“Aligning Missions” essay published in History and Technology


Jacob Darwin Hamblin, “Aligning Missions: Nuclear Technical Assistance, the IAEA, and National Ambitions in Pakistan,” History and Technology 36:34 (2020), 437-451.


Drawn from the archives of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the British National Archives, and other sources, the present essay analyzes nuclear technical assistance in central Asia, focusing largely on Pakistan. It discusses collaborations with American and British institutions in the 1960s and later efforts to work under the auspices of the IAEA. The essay suggests that the IAEA’s mission in the 1960s and early 1970s, namely its leaders’ desire to demonstrate the relevance of the IAEA in economic development, aligned with Pakistan’s stated goals of constructing a robust reactor program. Rather than see technical assistance solely as a donor/recipient binary relationship, the essay encourages us to consider the mutuality of interests between a major international organization and a budding nuclear program. Archival documents suggest that the IAEA provided the endorsement for a major nuclear program for electricity production that Pakistan was unable to find with other partners.