"In my home there are few publications that we actually get hard copies of, but [Arms Control Today] is one and it's the only one my husband and I fight over who gets to read it first."

– Suzanne DiMaggio
Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
April 15, 2019
Resource Page: The 2010 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference

Last Reviewed: 
May 2010

Contact: Daryl Kimball, Executive Director, (202) 463-8270 x107; Kingston Reif, Director for Disarmament and Threat Reduction Policy, (202) 463-8270 x104

Online Resources and Documentation
ACA’s Recommendations and Analysis
U.S. Government Perspectives
Fact Sheets
Official Conference Documentation and Speeches
Support ACA’s Work/ Subscribe to Arms Control Today

Updated: May 2010


From May 3-28, leaders from the nearly 190 members of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), along with hundreds of nongovernmental organizations, will gather at the United Nations in New York to discuss how one of the world’s most vital international security instruments can be strengthened to address both long-standing and emerging nuclear challenges.

Over the course of four decades, the NPT has established an indispensable yet imperfect set of interlocking nonproliferation and disarmament obligations and standards. Reinforced by nuclear export controls and the safeguards system, the NPT makes it far more difficult for non-nuclear-weapon states to acquire or build nuclear weapons and to do so without being detected. Equally important, NPT Article VI commits the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China to end the arms race, stop nuclear testing, and achieve nuclear disarmament.

Rather than the dozens of nuclear-armed states that were forecast before the NPT entered into force in 1970, only four additional countries (India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea) have nuclear weapons today, and taboo against the use of nuclear weapons has grown stronger.

Yet, once again the nonproliferation system is facing a crisis of confidence. New measures to renew and update the NPT bargain are needed.

The May 2010 treaty review conference provides an important opportunity for the treaty’s 189 members to adopt a balanced action plan to improve nuclear safeguards, guard against treaty withdrawal, accelerate progress on disarmament, and address regional proliferation challenges.

There is widespread support for common-sense initiatives that would advance treaty implementation and compliance. U.S. President Barack Obama’s renewed commitment to the NPT, deeper nuclear reductions, and ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has rejuvenated hopes for a successful conference.

But friction over Iran's controversial nuclear activities and pending action by the UN Security Council to further sanction Iran, as well as the lack of progress toward one NPT-related goal—the pursuit of a Middle East nuclear weapon free zone—threaten to overshadow the broad degree of support for the treaty and measures to strengthen it.

To succeed, all states have a responsibility to fulfill their part of the NPT bargain and support common sense measures to update and strengthen the nonproliferation and disarmament system.

Online Resources, Analysis, and Documentation from ACA

ACA offers the following resources related to the NPT Review Conference:

“Major Proposals to Strengthen the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty: a Resource Guide,” March 2010, by Cole Harvey is available from http://www.armscontrol.org/reports. ACA’s 75-page guide outlines the major points of debate and governmental proposals for moving forward in key areas. It includes:

  • An overview of the recent history of the NPT;
  • A description of 14 key issues NPT members will address during the Review Conference along with positions and proposals;
  • Key NPT documentation, including the text of the treaty and decisions taken at past Review Conference;
  • A pictorial timeline of the history of the treaty.

ACA’s Recommendations and Analysis

Strengthen the Nonproliferation Bargain, Focus editorial by Daryl G. Kimball in Arms Control Today, May 2010: http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_05/Focus

“Challenges and Solution for the 2010 NPT Review Conference,” Remarks by Daryl G. Kimball at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 31, 2010: http://www.armscontrol.org/events/StrengtheningNPT

U.S. Government Perspectives

“Previewing the NPT Review Conference,” Remarks by Ellen Tauscher, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, Washington, D.C., April 29, 2010: http://www.state.gov/t/us/141029.htm

An interview with the U.S. Special Representative of the President for Nuclear Nonproliferation, Ambassador Susan Burk in Arms Control Today, March 2010: http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2010_03/Burk

Fact Sheets

“The NPT at a Glance,” an ACA Fact Sheet: http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/nptfact

“Who Has What at a Glance,” an ACA Fact Sheet tallying states’ nuclear weapons holdings: http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat

“The IAEA Additional Protocol,” an ACA Fact Sheet outlining efforts to strengthen nuclear safeguards: http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/IAEAProtoco

Official Conference Documentation and Speeches

Support ACA’s Work and Stay Informed

  • Become a member of the Arms Control Association
  • Subscribe to the leading journal in the field, Arms Control Today for only $25!