The realization that nuclear technology is, at its core, dual-use in nature occurred early on in the nuclear age, and it has been fundamental to every effort to harness the positive potential widely (though by no means universally) believed to be inherent in nuclear technology, while minimizing its risks.
Every plan unveiled since the mid-1940s to deal with the promotion of nuclear energy has in one way or another tried to address this complexity. Yet overtime this complex reality has only become more sobering.
While it has long been recognized that multiple paths may lead to nuclear weapons acquisition, it is widely believed that the diversity of these paths has grown considerably over the years, largely as a result of the accumulation and dissemination of the nuclear knowledge, experience, and capabilities necessary to acquire nuclear weapons, as well as the diminution of the costs associated with such processes.
Alternative explanations for engaging in many activities indispensable for realizing nuclear weapons aspirations abound, be they in the conventional military domain, peaceful nuclear or scientific pursuits, or even nuclear military realms other than weapons.